News Links – 2020

 

Smithsonian, December 30, 2020: You Can Eat Your Christmas Tree. Here’s How to Do It

For most people who celebrate Christmas, it would be hard to imagine the holiday without the iconic centerpiece of a decked out evergreen. Each year, an estimated 25 to 30 million Christmas trees are sold in the United States. But if you’re increasingly worried about the carbon footprint of buying a real tree, there are ways you can recycle it once the holidays have passed. It can be used for mulch or even turned into something edible. In October, UK-based artisan baker and cook Julia Georgallis published a compilation of more than 30 recipes in a new cookbook, How to Eat Your Christmas Tree, to show readers how to give their tree new life after December 25. Georgallis sat down with Modern Farmer to talk about why she decided to create dozens of Christmas tree recipes and how a certain type of evergreen makes for an ideal ice cream flavor…

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Sun-Sentinel, December 30, 2020: Coral Gables estate features canopy from 88 oak trees

An 18,670-square-foot Mediterranean estate known as “Casa Arboles” because of the canopy of oak trees that greets visitors along the driveway has been listed for $14.9 million. The “House of Trees” property is owned by R. Donahue Peebles, chairman and chief executive officer of New York-based The Peebles Corp., a real estate investment and development company with a multi-billion-dollar portfolio of projects, and his wife, Katrina Peebles. The two-story gated estate sits on a 2.87-acre lot at 11501 Old Cutler Road in Coral Gables. Built in 2003, it was remodeled in 2020 and has 10 bedrooms and 14 baths. Interior features include a chef’s kitchen with a marble center island, wine chiller and butler’s pantry, two offices, a “Board Room” with a marble fireplace and movie theater, a gym, elevator and a master suite with sitting area, two balconies and dual bathrooms. A commercial generator can power the entire home…

Ipswich, Massachusetts, Chronicle & Transcript, December 30, 2020: Selling its last Christmas trees, Nutter Farm in Topsfield calls it after 60 years

For 60 years, the Nutter family grew and sold Christmas trees in Topsfield. In what was a difficult decision, they decided to cease operations this year.“Some of our customers are third generation,” said Ben Nutter. “They’re the grandchild that came with their parents and their grandparents starting in the 60s. I’ve got to tell you it’s really emotional to be pulling the plug.” It’s especially difficult, he said, because COVID means they can’t shake their customers’ hands and hug them in thanks for all their support. vJohn and Bunny Nutter bought the property on Ipswich Road in 1948 and started planting trees in 1950. In addition to Ben, they had a son, Steve, and a daughter, Stina. “He was a young mechanical engineer at General Electric,” Nutter said of his father, John. “So his farming passion was more of a weekend farming passion…”

Cleveland, Ohio, WKYC-TV, December 30, 2020: Iconic tree along Lake Erie comes down at Huntington Beach in Bay Village

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and many others, a tree west of Cleveland has been a beacon of hope. It stood tall and alone on the edge of Lake Erie at Huntington Beach in Bay Village. This week, the Metroparks had no choice but to cut it down. Beverly Good said the tree gave her strength and solace and it was like losing “an old friend.” “It was a place to go to kind of even say a little prayer,” she said. “We brought our grandchildren there to visit it.” Few really understood how deep the roots of the old cottonwood truly went until now. It was a post on Facebook that let much of the community know it was gone. “To have that tree there year after year, season after season, was very special,” said Diane McGregor. “To have a sunset with the tree is my special place…”

Bloomberg, December 29, 2020: PG&E Judge Proposes Stricter Probation After Wildfires

The judge overseeing PG&E Corp.’s criminal probation is looking to tighten the leash on the utility by requiring it to take into account which power lines were cleared of trees before shutting them off during windstorms. U.S. District Judge William Alsup said he’s trying to get the company to follow California law and its own wildfire mitigation plan to “protect the people of California from yet further death and destruction caused by the offender’s continuing failure to operate its power grid safely.” In his role overseeing PG&E’s criminal probation, Alsup has expressed frustration and ire at the utility for its role in causing wildfires that have repeatedly claimed lives and destroyed large swaths of private and public property. The company emerged from bankruptcy on July 1, having agreed to pay $25.5 billion to settle damage claims from a series of deadly blazes blamed on its equipment. The judge noted PG&E’s finding that 334 trees or limbs fell on distribution lines during four Public Safety Power Shutoffs — or PSPS — in October 2019. Of the fallen trees, PG&E estimated that 234 could have caused wildfires by “arcing,” in which electricity finds the closest conducting surface, such as dry grass, he said…

Baltimore, Maryland, WJZ-TV, December 29, 2020: ‘It’s Drying Out’ | Maryland Fire Officials Say It’s Time To Get Rid Of Your Christmas Tree

Christmas Day has come and gone, but many people may still have a Christmas tree sitting at home. They’re images many Marylanders will never forget, an Annapolis mansion going up in flames in January 2015. The fire trapped and killed Donald and Sandra Pyle, along with their four grandchildren. What fueled the fire? Their Christmas tree, according to investigators. It was a tragic lesson that still remains true to this day. Officials are now reminding residents to dispose of their trees. “Having a dry Christmas tree is like having, inviting a forest fire into your home,” Captain Erik Kornmeyer, of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, said. “Once they dry out, it’s just like having a match in your living room,” Daniel Scotten, of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, added. Captain Kornmeyer said Christmas trees sold out early this year, some even before Thanksgiving…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2020: Covid-19 Stimulus Package Delivers a Christmas Haul for Loggers

A few months ago, those who supply America’s homes with fresh Christmas trees were approved for special aid by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help against the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic. Frozen out were the people harvesting their less glamorous industrial cousins: loggers and truckers behind the nation’s construction, paper and furniture-making industries. Only farmers who provided species like firs and spruces to Christmas tree lots were greenlighted for relief, leaving some feeling like they would be Grinched this Yuletide after an already brutal year. “You see all these other businesses getting all this help from the government, and it’s frustrating,” said Thomas Douglass, a fifth-generation logger in Maine, who said his family business was “one big equipment breakdown from a disaster.” Now, tucked inside the new $900 billion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress… is $200 million in aid for the loggers and the trucking companies that transport their wares to paper mills and other processing facilities. The reason: an only-in-Washington tale of the importance of lobbying and political connections…

Fox News, December 27, 2020: Christmas trees: When and how should you throw them out?

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree — how dry are thy branches after awhile. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a fresh fir, but the day will eventually come when it’s time to kick it to the curb. After gifts are opened and the holidays are celebrated, merrymakers should remove real Christmas trees from inside the home when the evergreen becomes overly dry to the touch, for safety’s sake. Doug Hundley, a spokesperson for the National Christmas Tree Association, told Fox News that this is generally the best time to dispose of a tree, but he urged homeowners to not just haul it to the trash. “Most, if not all, county and city governments offer real Christmas tree pick-up or drop-off locations,” Hundley said. “They will all be either recycled by chipping into mulch or reused for wildlife habitats. If you live in a rural area you can burn it or let it biodegrade outdoors in a brush pile…”

Santa Fe, New Mexico, New Mexican, December 26, 2020: Altered trees point to ancient society in Eldorado

Stephanie Levy and James Mason thought something was up almost immediately when they moved to Eldorado — something about the trees. “We looked at that first tree in front of our house and were like, this is not normal,” Levy said. “Somebody altered these.” With some help from experts and through their own personal research, Levy and Mason discovered their property is full of signs of an ancient society. The most notable are the culturally modified trees. Mason, who works with the National Park Service’s Vanishing Treasures Program, which supports the preservation of traditionally built architecture throughout the western U.S., has a trained eye for artifacts. In addition to the trees, he said, he has found turquoise on the grounds around the couple’s home and stones that appeared useful. “I found tools — hammers and little knives that fit right into your hand,” Mason said. “The two trees in front are so beautifully altered. They’ve been twisted and contorted in this configuration for hundreds of years.” A male one-seed juniper has a branch pointing skyward. Another grows parallel to the ground from a stump and then takes a 90-degree shift upward. Elsewhere on their 3-acre property, Levy said, they found circular clearings surrounded by junipers, more tools and one stump with branches pointing north, west and toward the Jemez Mountains and Chaco Canyon…

Nassau, New York, Newsday, December 29, 2020: Village in Smithtown to inventory, identify invasive trees

Head of the Harbor will use a $50,000 New York State grant to inventory thousands of trees along village roads, identifying those that may be invasive or vulnerable to storms. Stands of oak, beech and hickory make up much of the native population, though storms in the past six years have damaged or killed some specimens that began growing in the 19th century, said trustee Judy Ogden, a landscape designer who is also the village’s volunteer highway commissioner. “There’s great value to maintaining and preserving these trees,” Ogden said in a phone interview. “They’re really important for deterring erosion, filtering and slowing down the water that runs to the harbor” in rainstorms with enough pace and volume that it has undermined some driveways in the village. Starting next year, specialists working with the village’s Highway Department will use GPS to locate and calipers to measure the trunks of trees in the right of way, which can extend more than a dozen feet on each side of the village’s 20 road miles, with special attention to the steep slopes that come close to meeting the roadway in some areas. Dead or rotted trees may be marked for removal; those that are salvageable may just get a pruning. New trees may be planted, including black tupelo and flowering dogwood, as workers have done outside Village Hall in recent years. Workers may also remove invasive species like Norway maple and woody vines like Japanese honeysuckle and an invasive wisteria that kills trees by twisting itself around their trunks until they cut through bark, an act known as girdling…

Futurity, December 28, 2020: That Dried-Out Christmas Tree Is A Fire Hazard

“Firs, spruce, pine, cedar, and other Christmas tree types all contain a resin that is flammable, especially once the tree has dried out,” says Karen Stafford, Texas A&M University Forest Service Fire Prevention Program coordinator. “Live trees in the home present a certain amount of fire danger, but dried trees are much more combustible and present a higher fire risk.” There are some practical steps that you can take to remove trees with less clean-up and greater safety, says Joyce Cavanagh, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist in family and community health at Bryan-College Station. “Have your storage boxes ready and remove the tree skirt, all ornaments, and lights, and any wire or twine used to secure the tree,” she says. “Have a bucket or other container nearby to dump out any water that may still be in the tree stand reservoir.” Cavanagh says the next step should be to cover the tree with an appropriately sized plastic bag or tree bag. “If you don’t have a tree bag, you can wrap an old blanket or sheet around the tree,” she says. “This will help keep the needles and sap from getting on the floor…”

Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram, December 28, 2020: What happened to the little ‘Homeless Christmas tree’ on Interstate 30 in Fort Worth?

Fort Worth’s beloved “Homeless Christmas Tree” has apparently celebrated its last holiday.
The little mimosa tree that for decades stood alone atop a hill on the north side of Interstate 30 with a panoramic view of downtown Fort Worth has been removed by an unknown person or persons, apparently as part of a land-clearing operation. The hill on the north side of I-30 between Beach Street and Oakland Boulevard has been cleared of all foliage and debris in recent days, several people who have visited the site said. The trunk of the original tree, which died in 2014 (although volunteers continued to decorate it), as well as a sapling from that tree that was planted at the same site and recently had grown to about 5 feet, were cut to the roots and removed, they said. Also, a small bench that had been placed on the hill in the memory of one of the tree’s most dedicated volunteers, Carla Christian, also was removed, they said…

Yakima, Washington, December 27, 2020: Popularity of customer-cut Christmas trees brought an early end to Wapato farm’s sale season

Although this year has been a difficult one for businesses across the country, sales activity was better than ever for the family-run Gasseling Ranches Christmas Tree Farm in Wapato. The 35-acre U-cut Christmas tree farm saw an increase in its business this year. In fact, while it intended to remain open until Dec. 20, the farm had to close Dec. 13 due to the number of trees sold. The Gasseling family believes that the desire for a fun-filled experience in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic drove many families to cut live trees from the farm this year. “This year I think people do want to get out and try and do some things with their families, just because we’ve all been locked down for so long,” said Trishia Gasseling, who operates the farm with her husband, Patrick Gasseling. The Gasselings first began planting Christmas trees in 2012. However, because the trees grow at a rate of only 1 foot per year, the family was unable to begin selling them until 2016. “This is not a crop that you’re really going to turn over real quick,” Trishia Gasseling said. “It’s a huge investment.” The family decided to take on that investment because they saw a need for a family-oriented winter activity in the Yakima Valley…

Aiken, South Carolina, Standard, December 27, 2020: How should you dispose of your Christmas tree?

What are environmentally sound ways to discard my Christmas tree after the holiday? I have responded to this question before. The answer is worth repeating. For the nation’s households that have no Christmas tree in the home, which in a normal year is about 20%, the question is irrelevant. For the multitude of families with an artificial tree that goes back into storage, the answer is easy. But even during 2020, millions of homes have been decorated with real Christmas trees. The burning question now is, where should the trees go when their job is done? The question has several ecologically gratifying answers. One thing about living organisms is that they die. Of course, a Christmas tree is functionally dead before you take it home, unless you happen to get a rooted one you can plant in the backyard after Christmas. (In my experience, these do not die until the next summer.) At the end of yuletide, most people have to deal with a dead tree in the house. Although the 12 days of Christmas last through Jan. 5, some people say that if your Christmas tree is in the house past midnight Dec. 31, bad luck will haunt you in the coming year. You do not, however, have to be superstitious or a pagan to acknowledge that keeping in the house a tree that sheds highly flammable foliage, making it a potential tinderbox, might, in fact, be a bad idea…

Nature Conservancy of Canada, December 24, 2020: The Nature Conservancy of Canada suggests leaving your old Christmas tree in your backyard

It’s the time of year when communities are buzzing with holiday cheer, people begin to decorate their homes and consider getting a Christmas tree. If you’d like to prolong the holiday spirit and share the gift of giving with wildlife, then the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has a suggestion. This year, instead of bringing your old Christmas tree to the curb, the not-for-profit, private land conservation group suggests putting it in your own backyard. Dan Kraus, NCC’s senior conservation biologist, says leaving it in your backyard over the winter can provide many benefits for backyard wildlife. Your tree can provide important habitat for bird populations during the winter months, especially on cold nights and during storms. The first step in letting nature help you recycle your Christmas tree is to put it anywhere in the backyard. Prop it up near another tree, against a fence or lay it in your garden. You can even get the family involved by redecorating it with pine cones filled with peanut butter, strings of peanuts and suet for birds to enjoy. These delicious decorations will provide food for birds while they find shelter in the tree. “Evergreens offer a safe place for birds to rest while they visit your feeder,” says Kraus. “Another benefit is that if you leave the tree in your garden over the summer, it will continue to provide habitat for wildlife and improve your soil as it decomposes…” 

Sarasota, Florida, Herald Tribune, December 27, 2020: esident concerned association wants to remove trees

Q: The association board of my building wants to take down basic pine trees behind my unit. The trees are healthy and provide no danger to the building. These trees provide privacy, shade and comfort to my unit. It is one of the main reasons I purchased the unit. Do I have any recourse?
A: We can understand your frustration. Have you talked to the board to find out why they are taking down the trees? Are the trees infected with something you can’t see? Are they harboring pests of some sort? Is the board planning on replacing the pine trees with other trees or is their plan to leave the area clear of all trees? In any event, most association boards have wide latitude in governing their associations. Boards can decide how to decorate hallways, choose landscaping for common areas and can even decide to make improvements to common areas. An association board has broad authority to handle the affairs of the association. Unfortunately, association boards will not make the best decisions at all times and, in some cases, may make poor decisions…

Redondo Beach, California, Daily Breeze, December 23, 2020: Wishing tree adds holiday spirit to popular path in Hermosa Beach

When Hermosa Beach’s Carissa Catalina dreamed up the idea for an interactive wishing tree on the city’s Greenbelt, she may have started a new town tradition. Catalina said she was running on the Greenbelt one evening when she thought she could create some holiday spirit on the dimly lit trail, which is popular with joggers and walkers. So about three weeks ago, Catalina, along with helpers Gabby Barrantes and Andrea Giancoli, hung ornaments and solar panel lights on a tree at Eighth Street and Valley Drive. They also put a sign reading, “Add an Ornament… Make a Wish.” Since then, many more baubles have found a home on the tree since then. And now, Catalina said, she would like to make it an annual tradition. “I was thinking even keeping these ornaments and then coming back next year and putting them back up,” Catalina said, “and hopefully keeping it alive. It’d be, Catalina said, “a neat little community tradition…”

Associated Press, December 23, 2020: Young trees need some dressing up for winter protection

My young trees are decked out in their winter finery: arboreal attire, perfumes and cosmetics that will protect them through the winter. Insects and disease-causing fungi are dead or dormant, but larger, furrier animals now pose a threat. Deer, rabbits and mice are eager to gnaw on succulent stems, bark and roots. And then there’s cold weather to dry out or sunscald the trees. Evergreens are most susceptible to drying out because they lose water through their leaves all winter long. Sunscald, caused by fluctuations in bark temperature, is most likely to occur on the southwest-facing bark because that’s where it’s last heated by day before the sun — and temperatures — plummet…

Phys.org, December 23, 2020: Christmas trees can be green because of a photosynthetic short-cut

How can conifers that are used for example as Christmas trees keep their green needles over the boreal winter when most trees shed their leaves? Science has not provided a good answer to this question but now an international team of scientists, including researchers from Umeå University, has deciphered that a short-cut in the photosynthetic machinery allows the needles of pine trees to stay green. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications. In winter, light energy is absorbed by the green chlorophyll molecules but cannot be utilized by the downstream reactions in the photosynthetic machinery as freezing temperatures stop most biochemical reactions. This is especially a problem in the early spring when temperatures can still be very low, but sunlight is already strong, and the excess light energy can damage the proteins of the photosynthetic machinery. The researchers showed that the photosynthetic apparatus is wired in a special way which allows pine needles to stay green all year long…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, December 23, 2020: Opinion: Jones Tree Farm owner muses about future of natural and human ecosystems

Christmas week 2020 — if ever there was a week suited to reflect (20/20 hindsight), or look forward (20/20 vision), this is it! Add in the winter solstice and prospect of Jupiter and Saturn shining closer together than they have in 400 years (I saw it with my grandson). Top it off with our global COVID pandemic and we have a compelling reason to reflect and muse over a sensible and restorative course for the future. Let’s talk ecosystems. To a scientist, an ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. Simply put, how do we humans “get along”? Two lessons: First, from the land, our natural ecosystem — how we “get along” with nature. Second, from the heart, our human ecosystem — how we “get along’ with each other. How we behave in these two ecosystems will determine our future on this planet! As a fifth-generation farmer, I treasure the ecosystem of our land — fields, forests, wetlands, and streams. Their health and our stewardship has everything to do with our ability to grow healthy crops in the face of extreme weather and climate change. Nutritious food, clean air, pure water, and healthy soil are treasures. King Midas was rich with gold, but you cannot eat gold or quench thirst with oil…

London, UK, Daily Mail, December 22, 2020: World’s smallest Christmas tree is made of 51 atoms

Many people strive to find the largest tree for the holidays, but one student has done just the opposite – she created the world’s smallest Christmas tree. Maura Williams from Delft University of Technology designed a festive tree made of individual atoms that is just four nanometers tall – without counting the tree-topper. Williams used a device that allowed her to scan each atom and change their position to form the iconic shape. The structure consists of 51 atoms from a perfect crystal lattice, all of which translates as the size of a DNA strand or 40,000 times smaller than a human hair. The largest artificial Christmas tree resides in Sri Lanka, which stands more than 236 feet tall and made the Guinness World Records for its height. However, Williams’ tiny artificial tree may be an even greater achievement. The tiny tree was a graduation project, in which she used a scanning tunneling microscope that is designed to scan individual atoms and change their positions…

Marquette, Michigan, The Mining Journal, December 23, 2020: Mosier’s Christmas Trees: Business started small, grew over the years

The harvesting and sale of Christmas trees was big business in the Upper Peninsula and provided income to hundreds of forest owners, tree cutters, truckers and tree handlers. In the 1800s, trees were taken from the wilderness for Christmas celebrations. By the 20th century, they became a commodity and were planted in numbers for the Christmas season. William Mosier, from Rapid River, developed a profitable Christmas tree business. In 1942, Mosier began his business in a small way. That year, he took 600 trees to Milwaukee to sell. He then returned every December and continued to increase his stock. By 1957, he had two sales lots in Milwaukee, with 2,500 trees grown on his own land. He also brought some trees from Wisconsin because he found some Milwaukee buyers were “edgy” about dealing with a Michigan supplier. Before he entered the Christmas tree business, Mosier worked on his farm. He had a herd of Hereford beef cattle who ate almost all of his wooded range except the balsams. It was at this point that he decided to focus on raising and selling Christmas trees. Balsam fir are seeded in nature and do not thrive in nurseries or plantations. Deer will eat balsam only as a last resort. Mosier experimented with producing naturally seeded balsams and developed high quality trees. His natural large acreage could accommodate the self-seeded trees year after year, and he switched from raising beef to raising trees. He also successfully planted 50,000 Scotch and red (Norway) pine. The Scotch pine is easy to shape and was favored as a market tree. After a few years, the pines were also put on the market with the balsam on his Milwaukee lots. An average balsam sold for $3.50 and larger trees were $6.00 to $7.00. Very large trees were restricted to public buildings…

Mongabay, December 22, 2020: Critical temperature threshold spells shorter lives for tropical trees

Tropical trees have shorter life spans than trees in other parts of the world, living, for example, just over half as long as temperate trees. A new analysis suggests that, as the world warms up, tropical trees will live even shorter lives, spelling trouble for global biodiversity and carbon stocks. A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests that in warm tropical lowlands, tree longevity decreases when forests become drier and when the mean annual temperatures is greater than 25.4° Celsius (77.7° Fahrenheit). “Our findings — which are the first to demonstrate that there is a temperature threshold — suggests that for trees in these regions, their longevity is likely to be negatively affected,” study co-author Manuel Gloor from the University of Leeds, U.K., said in a statement. The researchers examined tree-ring data from more than 100,000 trees belonging to 438 species from more than 3,300 sites around the world. Growth rings, found within tree trunks, represent one year of growth, allowing researchers to estimate the age of trees and speed of growth…

Portland, Maine, Associated Press, December 20, 2020: Portland to remove invasive trees from public space

Maine’s largest city is removing invasive trees from one of its public spaces to restore views of the Fore River. Portland is taking away the Norway maple trees from Western Promenade. The removal of the trees will also allow more room for a future play space and community garden, city officials said. City officials said future improvements to the area will include planting new native trees and landscaping. The views of the Fore River have been obscured by the Norway maple trees for decades, officials said. The work will leave native red oak and black cherry trees once the Norway maples are gone, officials said…

National Geographic, December 17, 2020: ‘There’s good fire and bad fire.’ An Indigenous practice may be key to preventing wildfires

In Margo Robbins’s home, the first thing you notice is family: portraits of children and grandchildren in a crowded display on the wall. The second thing you notice is accomplishment: lines of academic and athletic trophies from those children and grandchildren. The third thing is baskets—Robbins is a Yurok basket-weaver, part of a tradition in her northern Californian nation that stretches back centuries upon centuries. What you don’t see is that her home is one of the nerve centers of a cultural and political struggle that has been slowly changing the North American West. Her living room is where she co-founded the Indigenous Peoples Burn Network, a growing collaboration of Native nations, partnered with nonprofit organizations, academic researchers, and government agencies. It’s focused on a single goal: setting forests on fire. In Robbins’s part of the forest, the ancestral homeland of the Yurok, she has been training teams of fire-lighters. They wear bright yellow flame-retardant Nomex suits and carry torches that drip burning petroleum. Under her watchful eye, they spread lines of flame beneath the trees. Her message is simple: You can too fight fire with fire. “There’s good fire and bad fire,” she told me during a recent visit. “And the good fire prevents the bad…”

Jacksonville, Florida, WJAX-TV, December 21, 2020: Tree trimmers team up to help Jacksonville veteran

To most people, the sound of heavy machinery first thing in the morning is a symbol of hard, time-consuming work. For Bobby Long, a disabled veteran, that sound is heaven sent. Long said that because he lives on a fixed income, he couldn’t afford to pay for the removal of two trees looming overhead that had become a hazard to his Oceanway home and property. “I wanted to get them trimmed up at first, but the tree man told me they looked like they were about ready to fall,” Long said. That’s why Canary Tree Services teamed up with Advanced Tree and Landscape Services to do the job for free. News4Jax asked Long if this gives him hope. He choked up with his answer. “Yeah, yeah it does,” Long said. “It gives me hope for mankind because you don’t see that very often.” Justin Hartmann, the owner of Canary Tree Services, said he was first contacted by Advanced Tree and Landscape Services about partnering up for the project. For Hartmann, signing on was a no-brainer. “We do a program called ‘Tree Work for Heroes’ where we do 100-percent free work for veterans who are disabled or unable to pay for the service,” Hartmann said. “We’ll come out and do it for free for them…” Hartmann said not only is this a great way to give back, it’s an appreciation felt by everyone involved. “My guys love it, it brings a camaraderie to the crew,” Hartmann said. “We appreciate the opportunity to be able to be able to go out and give back to the community. It feels great…”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Magazine, December 21, 2020: Don’t Want to Throw Away Your Christmas Tree? Let Goats Eat It!

Yes, we know it’s still prime holiday season — but planning ahead is never a bad idea. Some people like to keep their tree up long after December is through, and others are ready to transition just days after Christmas. Whatever your vibe, there’s no denying that it’s always a bummer to see a Christmas tree cast out on the curb — let alone unceremoniously thrown into the back of a trash truck. But turns out, there’s a better way. If you want to keep things merry and bright even after the holidays are over — and you have a vehicle at your disposal — all you have to do is bungee-cord your Christmas tree to the top of your car and make your way to Germantown. Why, you ask? Well, Philly Goat Project is hosting tree-cycling on select dates, to help you bid farewell to your beloved Christmas tree in a fun and generous way. Instead of it being destroyed by a garbage truck, your tree will be eaten by the organization’s ridiculously adorable goats. (Seriously, just look at how cute they are!)…

Mongabay, December 21, 2020: A Madagascar forest long protected by its remoteness is now threatened by it

The mountainous forests of northern Madagascar are biodiverse beyond measure, containing plant and animal species found nowhere else on the planet. Other forests in Madagascar have been lost in recent centuries and decades, but these have stood the test of time and remained relatively unscathed. They are difficult to access, and some have been officially protected since the 1920s. And yet their protected status is no longer enough: satellite data show they are now being cut down at an increasing rate. In May, Mongabay reported on the dire situation in Tsaratanana Reserve. Since then, deforestation has continued apace, both in Tsaratanana and a neighboring protected area called COMATSA. Levels of deforestation have spiked since September, according to satellite data from the University of Maryland (UMD) visualized on Global Forest Watch. The dry months of September and October are normally peak season for slash-and-burn, and sources say the clearing is especially severe this year due to economic pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic…

Santa Cruz, California, Sentinel, December 20, 2020: PG&E’s toppling of trees creates new hazards

Kristi and Brian Anderson have some thoughts about how the first year of California’s “get-tough-on-utilities” approach to preventing wildfires is going: Badly. Very badly. The Andersons, who live in Bonny Doon, lost their home four months ago in the CZU Lightning Complex fire. But their plight only got worse after the fire was out. They returned to their property to find that Pacific Gas & Electric crews had felled 20 trees on their 2-acre lot, toppling 100-foot Douglas firs and leaving them where they fell. In an attempt to clear vegetation from around power lines, the workers cut down old-growth redwoods, and in some cases simply sawed off the tops of the beloved giants, creating a “horrid Dr. Seuss kind of tree,” Kristi Anderson said. “It makes us sick to our stomachs.” Worse, after spending weeks clearing away the remains of their incinerated home, Brian Anderson arrived at his property to find a massive pile of trees atop a new trailer pad where he and his family were planning to live while their new home was being built. Facing a potential bill for tens of thousands of dollars, the couple is wondering who is going to pay for the cleanup after PG&E left the piles of timber and woody debris that are themselves fire hazards…

Salon, December 18, 2020: Does your Christmas tree have pesticides, and how dangerous are they?

Each winter, millions of Americans buy Christmas trees — but not everyone is privy to the intense process behind growing one. In fact, the tree sitting in your living room right now is probably around 10 to 12 years old, or maybe older, depending on the species and the size of it. Throughout its lifetime, depending on the year and conditions on the farm, it’s likely that it’s been sprayed with pesticides — perhaps even the herbicide in Roundup – to prevent damage from insects or other substances that can stunt a tree’s growth and yellow the foliage. Insecticides have been linked to affecting the human nervous system, so does this mean the Christmas trees are a threat to a person’s health inside the home, or your pet’s health? We asked Chal Landgren, Oregon State University’s Christmas tree specialist, who also has a seven-acre Christmas tree farm, to find out. First, can you briefly explain the process of growing a Christmas tree? Yeah, it’s a long process. Most of the seedlings that are planted are anywhere from 2 to 4 years old. So they’re 2 or 4 years old when they’re planted. And depending on the species, it can take up to 10 or 11 years before you get a tree that’s a harvest size…

Singapore, International Business Times, December 20, 2020: Scientists Propose Genetically Engineered Trees to Fight Climate Change

Ever since Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer pioneered genetic engineering in 1973, it has slowly gained popularity. Despite its potential misuse, many scientists believe it could be the answer to eliminate genetic disorders and even many other diseases. While research in the human genome has been restricted, many are trying to apply similar techniques in plants to fight climate change. Canadian forest genomics scientist Armand Seguin began his journey in genetics two decades ago and modified a poplar plant’s DNA, making it immune to pests that wreak havoc, killing the plant. “To me, this wasn’t something we were planning to develop at a larger scale, but it was proof of a concept. We proved that it was feasible,” Seguin said. Now, there are hundreds of such genetically-engineered trees in the research station in Quebec City. For years, scientists have recommended planting more trees to fight climate change. With more trees, the rate of photosynthesis will be more and will help in reducing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Apart from that as the mechanism produces oxygen and converts carbon into biomass, it will lead to a reduction in temperature. The carbon will be stored in leaves, trunks and soil, increasing natural carbon reserve called carbon sink…

Phys.org, December 21, 2020: Climate warming linked to tree leaf unfolding and flowering growing apart

An international team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhejiang A & F University and the University of Eastern Finland have found that regardless of whether flowering or leaf unfolding occurred first in a species, the first event advanced more than the second over the last seven decades. In the four European tree species the researchers looked at: horse chestnut, scots pine, alder and ash, the time interval between leaf unfolding and flowering increased at a rate of 0.6 to 1.3 days per decade between 1950—2013. Similar trends were seen geographically, with the time interval between the two life-cycle (phenological) events being greater in trees in warmer areas of Europe. Although leaf unfolding and flowering have both been shown to be happening earlier with climate warming, this is the first large scale study to examine both phenological events together and show that they are not advancing at the same rate in response to climate warming. Leaf unfolding and flowering are key annual events for trees with each signalling the start of growth and reproduction, respectively. The timing of these events is crucial for maximising fitness…

Bloomberg Green, December 17, 2020: The Real Trees Delivering Fake Corporate Climate Progress

Jack Branning is a prosperous Mississippi businessman, with commercial interests stretching from Hattiesburg to Baton Rouge, La. He’s seen a lot of deals in his 89 years, but few were as curious as the one he was offered back in 2013. That’s when a forester walked into his office in Vicksburg and inquired about 1,700 acres of former soybean fields he owned nearby. The man worked for GreenTrees LLC, a small company that says it combats climate change by reforesting thousands of acres of farmland along the lower Mississippi River. GreenTrees says it pays landowners to convert their croplands to forests, tallies the planet-warming carbon absorbed by those trees, and then sells credit for the carbon reductions to big corporations that want to offset their own greenhouse gas emissions. GreenTrees couldn’t reforest Branning’s land, because he’d already planted trees there more than a decade earlier thanks to a government conservation program. But the forester said the land still qualified for carbon payments. In effect, GreenTrees was offering to pay Branning for doing something he’d already done—and then take credit for it. “It worked out good for a guy like me,” says Branning, who’s collected thousands of dollars from the deal so far. “I had the trees there anyway, and they were not going away…”

Charlotte, North Carolina, December 17, 2020: Invasive insect may hitch rides to North Carolina on Christmas trees, officials fear

An invasive species of tree-killing insect may have found a way to eastern North Carolina via Christmas trees, according to officials in Onslow County. The Onslow County Cooperative Extension is warning people who bought live trees in recent weeks to examine the limbs and trunk for a moth-like creature known as the spotted lanternfly. It’s also possible some trees are infested with lanternfly “egg masses,” which resemble patches of tan or gray mud stuck to tree bark, officials say. “There is concern that the spotted lanternfly may have hitched a ride on some trees that came from Pennsylvania and we want to catch this pest as soon as possible if it is in our county,” the cooperative extension posted on Facebook. Onslow County is a coastal county between Wilmington and Morehead City…

London, UK, Independent, December 18, 2020: England’s ‘Tree of the Year’ to be cut down and protesters will face two-year jail sentences after High Court order

In October 2020, a healthy 150-year-old plane tree in Hackney facing removal was voted the Woodland Trust’s tree of the year by the public, but two months later the tree is now due to be felled as part of local redevelopment plans, and any protesters who attempt to halt the destruction can be jailed for two years, according to a High Court order. The plight of the Happy Man Tree, as it is known due to its proximity to a former pub called the Happy Man, inspired an outpouring of love from those who live nearby, who have dressed the tree with garlands and hung signs and banners up drawing attention to the plans to chop it down. The tree is being removed as part of a housing redevelopment project, which will provide social housing, but the developer – Berkeley Homes – admitted earlier this year that had they known how much the tree was valued they would have drawn up different plans which could have kept it. Though they said it was too late to do so. As well as seeing the tree named England’s Tree of the Year, the plans to cut it down have sparked street demonstrations, court injunctions of protesters and the opposition of over 25,000 people. But this week it appears Berkeley Homes are now on course to remove the tree as planned and fearing a backlash, have obtained an order by the High Court which states that anyone who peacefully stands under the tree after 9am on December 13 could face a prison sentence of up to two years and may have their assets seized…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, December 18, 2020: Commentary: Horry County needs strong tree ordinance to deal with stormwater, development

In 2004, while I was a member of the Horry County Stormwater Advisory Committee, it was a privilege to have the counsel of two very concerned and well-educated men in the field: local residents Hobart Kraner, former director at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Ian Marceau, who was heavily involved in writing (and negotiating into law) the Clean Water Act. But the county did a very poor job of listening to us. There was much angst expressed by the citizenry about clear-cutting tracts of land for development, the loss of mature trees to development and the resulting acceleration of stormwater runoff, flooding and other related problems. Horry County Planning Director Carol Coleman listened to my suggestions and agreed that a strong tree ordinance should be considered. Unfortunately, she left the county for another opportunity before this could be accomplished. Throughout these times, development interests expressed disdain over the proposals we made regarding stormwater and tree preservation, and a very minimal (and inexpensive) stormwater ordinance was adopted. It took a few years to get a tree ordinance done, and it, too, was way too little, too late…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2020: BP Boosts Its Bet on Trees

BP PLC has bought a controlling stake in the largest U.S. producer of carbon offsets, doubling down on a bet that preserving forests will be key to companies meeting their carbon-reduction goals. The oil giant in late 2019 made a $5 million venture investment in Pennsylvania’s Finite Carbon, which helps landowners sell their forests as carbon sinks. With majority ownership of Finite, BP plans to take global the business of paying landowners not to cut down trees. BP and Finite didn’t disclose financial terms of the latest deal but said that the forestry firm was now part of the energy company’s Launchpad. The unit functions similarly to a private-equity firm by taking big economic stakes in businesses with an eye toward steering them through expansion. “Finite Carbon has the potential to build a global platform for managing and financing natural climate solutions,” said David Eyton, BP’s executive vice president of innovation and engineering. BP itself has been one of the world’s biggest buyers of forest carbon-offset credits, a type of climate-change currency. The company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on offsets to comply with California regulators. They operate a so-called cap-and-trade system that aims to reduce greenhouse gasses by making it more expensive over time for companies operating in the state to pollute…

Natick, Massachusetts, Patch.com, December 16, 2020: Natick Will Replace Trees Culled Due To Emerald Ash Borer

Natick will replace a row of ash trees culled over the summer due to an emerald ash borer infestation with three new species, according to the Public Works Department. The town had to cut down the row of ash trees along Park Street in July. It was the first appearance in Natick of the invasive ash borer, which have infested and killed countless ash trees along the East Coast since first appearing in the U.S. in 2002. The town’s replacement plan was drafted by Stephen Cosmos of Cosmos Associates, the landscape architect who helped redesign the 1840s-era common in the 1980s. Cosmos’ plan calls for nine new trees to be planted along Park Street. There will be one Amur maackia tree planted on the north and south ends of the Park Street side of the common. The tree produces a white flower in summer. Below the northernmost Amur maackia will be a stand of three wildfire sweetgum trees, and then four Elizabeth magnolia trees, which produce large, fragrant flowers in the spring. “This plan was developed with careful consideration to complement the existing Town Common planting design, to provide shade where shade was lost, and to provide a new experience with specimen trees,” Land Facilities and Natural Resources Supervisor Arthur Goodhind wrote in a letter about the plan to the Board of Selectmen on Dec. 4…

New York City, The New York Times, December 16, 2020: Why Christmas Tree Sellers Feel Like Lucy at Her Psychiatrist Stand

Diana Karvelis spent 15 minutes choosing just the right Christmas tree — a five-footer that cost $65 — at a stand in the East Village on a freezing weekday night. “In the past it’s been a ‘nice to have,’ now it’s a ‘need to have,’” she said. Ms. Karvelis, who was laid off from her job and moved to a new apartment in the midst of the pandemic, said that in a year when she could not see her family in person, the experience reminded her of cutting down a Christmas tree while growing up outside Detroit. She is one of many New Yorkers searching for comfort in conifers, clamoring for Christmas trees as balms of normalcy in the middle of a pandemic that has turned everyone’s life upside down. But the Christmas tree business, like seemingly everything else, has been disrupted by the virus. There are fewer sidewalk stands in the city, with some vendors citing public health concerns as the reason they are staying away, while others have noted an unmistakable spike in demand from pent-up New Yorkers desperate for holiday cheer…

Insurance Journal, December 16, 2020: Virginia City Plants Trees to Slow Flooding Woes

In Ocean Lakes, 100 more trees will soon be popping up in yards throughout the flood-prone neighborhood in southern Virginia Beach, each gifted at no cost from a local environmental group. And in nearby parks and other green areas, dozens of volunteers recently planted nearly 400 oaks and bald cypresses, among other trees, with plans for another 500 to be in place next year. This roughly $25,000 initiative was a partnership between one of the biggest homeowners associations in the city and Lynnhaven River NOW, a local environmental organization. “We hope it’s the first of many,” said Karen Forget, who leads the group. The goal is to slow flooding and the tree planting is a part of a broader initiative to create additional networks of forests near at-risk areas throughout Virginia Beach, which is just now getting started. The city, along with a host of volunteers, has been busy planting trees, too. It added 800 trees in Ashville Park, a nearby neighborhood in the southern part of the city that has drawn criticism over its inadequate stormwater system. Councilwoman Barbara Henley said it would only be roughly four years until the trees start providing significant benefits. Henley, whose district includes the Ashville Park area, said the recent reforestation was a statement that the city is moving forward with its green infrastructure solutions…

San Jose, California, Mercury-News, December 15, 2020: Electrical fire near Christmas tree burns home in San Jose, injures firefighter

Christmas tree provided the tinder for a house fire early Tuesday morning to grow out of control and eventually injure a firefighter attempting to squelch the blaze. The San Jose Fire Department responded shortly after 3:30 a.m. to a call in the 1100 block of Lick Avenue, where they found a single-family home engulfed in smoke and flames billowing out the back of the house. Almost two hours later, firefighters were still working to contain the blaze, which had spread from the main floor to the attic. According to fire officials, who spoke with the residents of the home, the blaze was sparked by a faulty electrical outlet nearby a Christmas tree that had not been properly watered…

Mountain Home, Arkansas, Baxter Bulletin, December 15, 2020: Tips for planting trees and shrubs

Spring isn’t the only time of the year gardeners can plant trees and shrubs and expect good results. Deciduous trees and shrubs, which are those that lose their foliage in the fall, do well planted in the winter. Cooler temperatures also make winter a great time for planting. Before you purchase plants or move them, consider the planting site. Think about issues such as sun exposure, soil pH and soil drainage. Test the soil before planting. The pH will be the most critical information the soil test report contains for planting trees/shrubs. Soil tests are free and can be brought to the Extension Office. Before digging, make sure you know the location of buried and above-ground utilities. Never place any tree growing taller than 15 feet beneath power lines. Vegetation and old mulch should be cleared from the site at least 6 inches beyond the planting hole or bed. The hole for an individual plant should be at least 2-3 times the width of the root ball and only as deep as the root ball or container measured from the root crown to the bottom roots. The union where the trunk meets the roots, sometimes called the trunk flare, should not be buried…

Phys.org., December 16, 2020: Scientists find that trees are out of equilibrium with climate, posing new challenges in a warming world

Forecasts predicting where plants and animals will inhabit over time rely primarily on information about their current climate associations, but that only plays a partial role. Under climate change, there’s a growing interest in assessing whether trees and other species can keep pace with changing temperatures and rainfall, shifting where they are found, also known as their ranges, to track their suitable climates. To test this, a University of Maine-led research team studied the current ranges of hundreds of North American trees and shrubs, assessing the degree to which species are growing in all of the places that are climatically suitable. Researchers found evidence of widespread “underfilling” of these potential climatic habitats—only 50% on average—which could mean that trees already have disadvantage as the world continues to warm. Benjamin Seliger, a then UMaine Ph.D. student with the Climate Change Institute, spearheaded the study with his doctoral adviser, Jacquelyn Gill, a UMaine associate professor of paleoecology and plant ecology. Brain McGill, a UMaine professor of biological sciences, and Jens-Christian Svenning, a macroecologist and biogeographer from Aarhus University in Denmark also contributed…

London, UK, The Guardian, December 15, 2020: Restore UK woodland by letting trees plant themselves, says report

Allowing trees and woodland to regenerate through the natural dispersal of seeds should become the default way to restore Britain’s forest cover, according to a new report. Natural regeneration brings the most benefits for biodiversity, is cost-effective and may sequester more carbon than previously thought, argues Rewilding Britain. “Given sufficient seed sources and suitable site conditions, trees will plant themselves in their millions for free over as large an area of land as we are willing to spare,” said the charity in a new report seeking to galvanise support for natural solutions to help meet the government’s ambitious target to increase Britain’s forest cover by 30,000 hectares annually by 2025. Only 13,460 hectares of woodland were planted in Britain in the year to March 2020, mostly in Scotland, but the government’s targets should see forest cover rise by at least 2% from its current 13%. The European Union average is 40%. Rewilding Britain, alongside other charities including Friends of the Earth, are campaigning to double Britain’s forest cover to 26%…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, December 14, 2020: Some Maine Christmas tree farms have already closed for the season

For procrastinators, there’s one more way that 2020 could make your holiday season less full of cheer: Christmas trees are in high demand and, in some cases, scarce supply this year. Joanne Bond of Bond Mountain Acres in West Newfield, close to the New Hampshire border, is the executive secretary and treasurer of the Maine Christmas Tree Association. Her choose and cut farm, and a lot of the other tree farms in the association, are in the same predicament — they’ve sold out of Christmas trees but shoppers still keep coming. Southern Maine is especially hard hit. Farms in central and northern parts of the state are more likely to still have trees, she said. Christmas tree customers might want to call a farm or check its social media pages before heading out, just to make sure trees are still available. “We’re closed,” Bond said Saturday to a would-be Christmas tree customer who came to her farm. “I had to close last Sunday. Go try to find a precut somewhere, if you can. But they’re going fast, too…”

Abilene, Texas, Reporter News, December 13, 2020: Bruce Kreitler: What’s popular in ornamental pear trees?

One of the topics that I’ve often commented on over the years has been how the varieties of trees and plants that we have in our yards change over the years. For instance, 20 years ago I dealt with a lot of mulberry trees, and Chinese photinia plants. These days, there are a lot fewer mulberries in yards, and now when I see a Chinese photinia, it catches my attention because I don’t see many. By the way, both of those plants — and some others that we don’t use anymore — can be very useful, when placed correctly. This week, I would like to get a little in depth on a change that’s taking place in area landscaping that not very many people are noticing. While I suspect that this is pretty much nationwide, in our area at least, we plant a lot of ornamental pear trees. These trees are normally referred to as “non-bearing pears,” “ornamental pears” or Bradford pears. Essentially, they are grafted trees which only produce marble sized, fairly inconsequential, fruit, but are very dependable for shape and color. These trees are mostly planted for color, not shade. They are very useful for blocking the rising or setting sun from portions of a house, but are not generally utilized for that…

Eurekalert, December 14, 2020: Critical temperature for tropical tree lifespan revealed

For the first time scientists have provided clear evidence that tropical tree lifespan decreases above a critical temperature threshold. Findings, published today (14 December) in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) show that across the tropics, tree lifespans decrease for temperatures above 25 C. As temperatures are rising rapidly across large parts of the tropics, tree mortality is likely to accelerate in substantial parts of the tropics, including the Amazon, Pantanal and Atlantic forests with implications for animal habitats, air quality and carbon stocks. Although tropical rainforests account for only 7% of all land, they are home to about 50% of all animal and plant species, and approximately 50 % of forest carbon stocks on earth. Thus small changes in the functioning of tropical forests can significantly change the atmospheric levels of CO2 – the most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas…

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Journal, December 13, 2020: Ask SAM: Tree trimming in the Polo Road area looks terrible

Question: Can the city of Winston-Salem try to put an end to this excessive tree butchering done by Duke Energy and Asplundh? I know lines must be cleared, but this is excessive wipe-out. As I rode down Polo Road recently, I saw what might resemble a “war zone.” Trees were either cut down or cut in half. The canopy has been massacred. It’s unsightly, unnecessary and basically an act of vandalism. I’ve not seen any North Carolina cities that allow this “excessive trimming” to be done; at least not to the extent I saw on Polo Road. Home owners must be livid. Can’t Duke show a little respect to our residents?
Answer: Keith Finch, the director of vegetation management for the City of Winston-Salem, and Jimmy Flythe, the director, west region, Government and Community Relations for Duke Energy Carolinas, responded: Keith Finch: “As requested, I looked at this area and saw that Asplundh is performing line clearance work for Duke Energy. From the city’s perspective, we are allowed to enforce a lot of control over contractor pruning inside the city limits when the contractor/s is pruning ‘city’ trees – trees within the city’s right of way. However, when the trees are outside of the city’s right of way, we have very little influence or control. In the case on Polo Road, those trees appear to be outside of the city’s right of way. “We work closely with Asplundh when they work on ‘city’ trees and monitor their work to ensure they are making proper pruning cuts and only removing what is necessary to accomplish their goals. For circumstances that require excessive removal of vegetation, we ask them to remove the tree entirely to eliminate future problems and the unsightly and unhealthy part that is often left behind…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2020: How Tight Is the Christmas Tree Supply? An 8-Footer Can Sell for $2,000

This year, people are going all out for Christmas. There’s just one problem: finding a Christmas tree. On the streets of Hong Kong, 8-foot Noble Firs are selling for as much as $2,167 apiece, while in California and New York shoppers are paying more for what they say are inferior trees. And in the U.K. retailers are scrambling for more trees. The pandemic means millions are unable to travel over the holiday season, and are celebrating at home instead. That’s produced a spike in demand for trees—and a run on decorations. Carla St. Germain, a 55-year-old business owner in Fargo, N.D., doesn’t normally buy her tree until mid-December each year, but this year unseasonably warm weather made her go a week earlier than normal. It was a good thing she did. “When I pulled in on the side street on the side where I normally get my tree it was completely empty,” she said. There were still some 8-foot and taller trees left and “some super tiny short ones that you’d put in the corner of the apartment.” Mrs. St. Germain said she ended up persuading the seller to cut down a larger tree for her. (An 8-foot tree would have been too tall for her house)…

Colorado Springs, Colorado, Gazette, December 13, 2020: Colorado Springs foresters expect to lose ash trees to invading beetle

The Colorado Springs tree canopy could be thinned significantly in coming years when an invasive green beetle arrives. The emerald ash borer kills all species of ash trees unless the trees are treated with pesticides. It has spread through the Denver metro area rapidly in recent years, moving into Broomfield and Westminster last year, and Arvada and Louisville this year, according to a Colorado State Forest Service map. The expected loss of the ash trees will reduce shade over hot urban areas and many of the other environmental benefits trees provide in Front Range cities. For example, the Colorado Springs tree canopy covers 17% of the community and provides the city with an estimated $100 million in air filtration, $900 million in stormwater retention benefits and $2 million in carbon sequestration, according to the city’s new Urban Forest Management Plan. However about 15% of the trees in Colorado cities are ash, making the beetle a formidable menace for parks departments and residents, who have to choose which trees to save. Trees need insecticide injections for the rest of their lives to live through a beetle infestation, said Vince Urbina, Colorado State Forest Service urban and community forest manager. If communities don’t treat for emerald ash borer once it starts to attack trees, the trees eventually have to be removed, which carries its own costs. “I would say communities that have opted to treat trees are being very selective in the number of trees,” Urbina said…

Modesto, California, Bee, December 13, 2020: Modesto walnut trees cut down, left in place — and no one knows why

Why would someone take out an entire row of walnut trees without the owners’ knowledge? “It’s a big mystery,” said Modesto’s Bill Mussman. He can’t ask the orange-vested, professional-looking crew in large trucks who destroyed Mussman’s 10 best trees Tuesday morning, because they were gone before he arrived and he doesn’t know who they work for. Perplexed — and more than a little put out, because the trees were loaded with walnuts ready to harvest — his sister, Ann Mussman, called Stanislaus County. Perhaps it had something to do with roadwork farther up McHenry Avenue near the bridge over the Stanislaus River. But the county didn’t know anything about removing part of the family orchard northeast of McHenry’s intersection with Claribel Road, Ann said. A utility line runs overhead; maybe the Modesto Irrigation District did it? But that makes little sense, because the power line is twice the height of the tree tops, demanding no pruning. Besides, you don’t remove entire trees if they did need a trim…

Charlotte, North Carolina, Observer, December 14, 2020: ‘Panic buying’ of Christmas trees hits NC amid tree shortage

A cold drizzle fell on Boyd’s Christmas Trees, but the holiday spirit hummed along apace at the Swannanoa River Road tree lot, where Rhonda Heath said she’s had the best season in more than a decade.“With COVID being on this year, I’ve had customers tell me they wanted something happy in the house,” she said. “They want something pretty to look at, and some that usually do artificial, this year they wanted a live tree.” Not only that, but they wanted to go big. But undersupply, a lingering effect of the recession, has bumped up against that demand, driving customers to travel long distances to snag a tree where they could, including from the tiny lot across from the Asheville Municipal Golf Course, industry experts say. Customers who drove from Tennessee told Heath everything closer to home was too scraggly, expensive or both — if they could find anything at all. She sees cars with tags from all over the Southeast pull into her lot, loaded with customers who snap up multiple trees. “It’s just been unreal, how everybody’s so excited to get a tree,” she said. Some Christmas consumers this year are finding tree lots and farms sold out of the biggest trees early, with some closing early due to lack of inventory…

San Jose, California, Mercury-News, December 10, 2020: Family determined to keep fire-ravaged Santa Cruz Christmas tree farm going

For more than 70 years, families have flocked to the Crest Ranch Christmas Tree Farm, high atop 2,600-foot Ben Lomond mountain, hunting for the perfect holiday tree and lasting memories. All that changed this year, when a raging wildfire swept down the mountains near Santa Cruz, narrowly missing the 46-acre farm at first, before turning and consuming about 40,000 of the Christmas trees growing there. For Ed and Louise Moran, the fire may have taken part of their family legacy, but it did not destroy it. The couple remain determined to replant and keep one of the nation’s oldest Christmas tree farms going. The Crest Ranch Christmas Tree Farm opened in 1948 when Howard A. Nielsen planted what he called a “tree plantation.” In the early 1970s, ownership passed to Fred Jensen, who had been out for a Sunday drive when he found himself at the tree farm — and unexpectedly in conversations with Nielsen to buy the property. Jensen sold the tree farm to his daughter and son-in-law in 2015. “We hadn’t been thinking about taking it over,” Ed Moran says, “but it was important to everyone to keep it in the family…”

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Patriot-News, December 10, 2020: Killer trees are waiting for you in the winter woods, says forest center at Penn State

Death or injury could be lurking overhead in the otherwise serene snow-covered woodland landscape of winter, according to Allyson Muth, interim director of the Center for Private Forests at Penn State. While you’re out and about, enjoying that winter wonderland, remember to look up frequently, she recommended in a recent newsletter for forest landowners. “With extreme weather like straight line winds and tornadoes occurring throughout the year, trees can sustain damage such as broken limbs or tops. Add in the weight of ice and snow and caution must be taken when enjoying a peaceful ramble,” she wrote. “Look up often to ensure you’re not walking or stopping under dangling limbs that could give way in the wind or to gravity. They’re called widow-makers for a reason. If they’re in areas where others might encounter them, flag the area to remind yourself to use caution or avoid the area until they fall…”

Seattle, Washington, Times, December 10, 2020: The climate crisis is killing California’s most beloved redwoods, sequoias, Joshua trees

They are what scientists call charismatic megaflora, and there are few trees anywhere more charismatic than the three most famous species in California. People travel from around the world simply to walk among them in wonderment. The giant sequoia. The Joshua tree. The coast redwood. They are the three plant species in California with national parks set aside in their name, for their honor and protection. Scientists already feared for their future. Then came 2020. The wildfires that burned more than 4 million acres in California this year were both historic and prophetic, foreshadowing a future of more heat, more fires and more destruction. Among the victims, this year and in the years to come, are many of California’s oldest and most majestic trees, already in limited supply. In vastly different parts of the state, in unrelated ecosystems separated by hundreds of miles, scientists are drawing the same conclusion: If the past few years of wildfires were a statement about climate change, 2020 was the exclamation point…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2020: Airbnb’s IPO Warning: Unhappy Neighbors Are Fighting Back

In the dozen years since it was founded, Airbnb Inc. has moved into hundreds of U.S. cities,transforming many of them into vacation-rental meccas. In response, residents across the country have ratcheted up grass-roots efforts aimed at keeping authority over short-term rentals in the hands of towns and cities. Airbnb stock began trading Thursday at $146 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, more than double its initial-public-offering price of $68 a share, and closed at $144.71. The company has warned prospective investors that managing its success in the face of angry neighbors and unfavorable local laws is among its biggest challenges in the U.S. and around the world. Many Silicon Valley tech giants have battled regulators in Washington, D.C., and state capitals. Airbnb’s fights are breaking out city by city. For the company, the opposition could yield slower-than-expected growth and higher costs if local authorities impose restrictions on short-term rentals. The Covid-19 pandemic, which looked disastrous for the company in the spring, has instead fueled an explosion in rental demand among people flocking to popular destinations within driving distance. In August, half of Airbnb’s global bookings were for stays within 300 miles of the guest’s location, the company said. The popularity of short-term vacation rentals has generated local campaigns and generated publicity about the downside of living next door to a shifting cast of visitors. Denver, Boston and Santa Monica, Calif., are among the U.S. cities that have tightened rules on the operation of short-term rentals…

Washington, D.C., The Hill, December 9, 2020: Bipartisan senators introduce tree conservation bill as climate solution

Bipartisan senators on Wednesday introduced a bill that seeks to use trees to mitigate climate change, similar to a Republican-backed bill that was introduced in the House earlier this year. The new legislation, introduced by Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Wednesday, looks to forests, wetlands and other ecosystems to absorb carbon dioxide that’s emitted into the atmosphere. It authorizes $10 million for a program to shore up the country’s supply of seeds and saplings and also aims to facilitate the sale of credits that can be earned by landowners for sequestering carbon dioxide. Though it has bipartisan support in the Senate, the bill could face an uphill battle in Congress’s lower chamber. During a February hearing, House Democrats criticized the GOP leadership-backed bill by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) that sought to plant more trees, saying that it didn’t go far enough to prevent climate change. “We should plant trees, we should perfect cross-laminated timber … but we should not call these ‘climate solutions’ if we are using these strategies to continue deforestation and continue developing and burning fossil fuel at a completely unacceptable and unsustainable pace,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) said at the time. And House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said that bill wouldn’t be marked up “in the foreseeable future” following the hearing…

USA Today, December 9, 2020: Need tips to care for your Christmas tree? Here they are, straight from a tree farm owner

So you’re playing host to a live Christmas tree this year.Join the club; it’s been an increasingly popular decision, area tree farm owners report. But just like your houseplants, live trees need some care to stay healthy through the holiday season. Jan Donelson, owner of Jan’s Christmas Trees in Clear Lake, has some tips for how to properly care for your real Christmas tree as well as how to keep that festive pine vibe going. A lot of tree defoliation problems can be traced back to a thirsty tree, Donelson said. When you bring your tree home from the tree farm, make a fresh cut at the bottom of the trunk before putting it in water. “A [cut] tree will sap over, just like our blood clots,” Donelson said. That sap cap keeps the tree from drawing up water, where a fresh cut means the tree can keep drinking. That’s also why it’s important to keep the water level above the base of the trunk. If the cut isn’t in water, the trunk will sap over. If you want your tree to be “full” before putting it in the stand, put it in a larger container of water overnight and move it to the stand the next day…

New York City, The New York Times Magazine, December 2, 2020: The Social Life of Forests

As a child, Suzanne Simard often roamed Canada’s old-growth forests with her siblings, building forts from fallen branches, foraging mushrooms and huckleberries and occasionally eating handfuls of dirt (she liked the taste). Her grandfather and uncles, meanwhile, worked nearby as horse loggers, using low-impact methods to selectively harvest cedar, Douglas fir and white pine. They took so few trees that Simard never noticed much of a difference. The forest seemed ageless and infinite, pillared with conifers, jeweled with raindrops and brimming with ferns and fairy bells. She experienced it as “nature in the raw” — a mythic realm, perfect as it was. When she began attending the University of British Columbia, she was elated to discover forestry: an entire field of science devoted to her beloved domain. It seemed like the natural choice. By the time she was in grad school at Oregon State University, however, Simard understood that commercial clearcutting had largely superseded the sustainable logging practices of the past. Loggers were replacing diverse forests with homogeneous plantations, evenly spaced in upturned soil stripped of most underbrush. Without any competitors, the thinking went, the newly planted trees would thrive. Instead, they were frequently more vulnerable to disease and climatic stress than trees in old-growth forests. In particular, Simard noticed that up to 10 percent of newly planted Douglas fir were likely to get sick and die whenever nearby aspen, paper birch and cottonwood were saplings had plenty of space, and they received more light and water than trees in old, dense forests. So why were they so frail?

Baltimore, Maryland, Sun, December 9, 2020: Tale of two trees: West Annapolis residents, alderman trying to save two 80-year-old oaks as new development debated

West Annapolis residents and an alderman are trying to save two 80-year-old trees in danger of being cut down to make way for a new commercial and residential space in the neighborhood. The two large mature trees, one a chestnut oak and the other a pin oak, are located at 101-103 Annapolis Street, a planned mixed-use development project currently before the Annapolis Planning Commission. The property owners, MRE Properties, want to build a two-story residential and commercial building at the corner of Annapolis Street and Giddings Avenue. But to do so, they say they need to remove the trees. “We’re not just taking down trees to take down trees; we’re reinvesting and redeveloping this project and property that will be anchored by a restaurant hopefully,” said EJ Rumpke, who co-owns the property with David Williams, chairman and founder of the marketing firm Merkle, Inc. But those who oppose the trees’ removal say cutting them down would hurt the community’s character, goes against the city’s tree canopy goal and could set a precedent to allow future developers to remove additional mature trees along the street. The trees also represent an environmental benefit to the city, like providing carbon sequestration and a natural stormwater management system, said Bevin Buchheister, chair of the Annapolis Environmental Commission, who testified on the project at a recent Planning Commission meeting. The commission left public comment open on the project following its Dec. 3 meeting and is expected to make final deliberations Dec. 17…

Honolulu, Hawaii, KHNL-TV, December 7, 2020: Hawaii farmers seek solution to combat potentially devastating coffee leaf rust

More than a month after the devastating coffee leaf rust fungus was detected in Hawaii, farmers are still looking for a viable solution in their fight against the potentially devastating plant disease. So far, coffee leaf rust has been found on Maui and Hawaii island and the state has since put a ban on transport of plants from those areas. The exact scope of the problem is not yet known, but the head of the Hawaii Coffee Growers Association has witnessed how damaging it can be. “I’ve seen it in real life,” said HCGA president Kimo Falconer. “I know what it can do. It’s not like an insect pest where insects would just take care of your yield, but this thing will actually kill the trees if it’s not taken care of or if it’s not treated properly.” For the last several weeks, Falconer has been in constant communication with his fellow farmers and government agencies to find a solution. He says there are sprays to repel the rust, but nothing currently available in Hawaii to completely eliminate it, which allows more time for it to spread…

Dallas, Texas, Dallas Morning News, December 7, 2020: How to make your ginkgo tree grow like a champion

The ginkgo trees in North Texas put on a good show this fall, and that has led to many questions about this prehistoric tree. I have arguably the fastest-growing ginkgo — but there is a larger one in Texas. The state champion ginkgo lives in the East Texas town of New Boston under the care of owner Mary Miller and her daughter Donna Worrell. Their tree has been a special part of the family’s life for decades, and for good reason. This beautiful and special tree is estimated to be about 250 years old, but it may be older than that. Back to my tree for a bit, because it has a lot to teach if you have a new ginkgo or are planning to plant one or more. Mine was planted in 1985, and early on this tree was different — growing noticeably faster than other ginkgoes. The growth rate increased after I dramatically exposed the root flare. I recommend planting this fascinating tree, but there are some things you need to understand. First, ginkgo is in that unfortunate category of usually being too deep in the container when purchased. In other words, the flares of most ginkgoes are buried and need to be exposed at planting. Other trees in this “chronically deep” category are lacebark elm and Chinese pistache…

Jacksonville, Florida, WTLV-TV, December 7, 2020: Is a real or fake Christmas tree better for the environment?

Christmas is fast approaching, and with it comes the annual debate: Which is better – a real or a fake Christmas tree? A fake tree is certainly easier to maintain, but is it better for the environment than a real Christmas tree? About 80% of American households will display a Christmas tree this year, and of those, about 80% are fake, according to the American Christmas Tree Association. That’s understandable as there’s no cleanup and you avoid the hassle of buying and disposing of a tree every winter. Plus, it saves you money. The average natural Christmas tree costs about $80. Fake ones are about $100, so by your second year using it, you’re saving cash. But there’s a big myth about the impact on the environment. Dr. Sally Brown, a nationally-renowned soil specialist at the University of Washington, told KING 5, “People think, ‘Christmas trees – they’re destroying the woods, destroying the forests.'” But Brown confirmed that’s not true because almost all Christmas trees are grown on farms that wouldn’t exist without the holiday. “It’s actually a really nice, sustainable type of agriculture,” explained Brown. “You’re getting good land use and benefits to the soil from growing these trees, and it’s a big source of income. So, the environmental impact of having acreage devoted to Christmas tree farms is pretty minimal.” Christmas trees are also a tiny piece of the environmental pie. One major study by PE International found that real or fake, Christmas trees account for less than 0.1% of the average person’s annual carbon footprint. A much bigger factor is driving to and from the tree farms…

NPR, December 7, 2020: Looking For Cheer, Washingtonians Have Been Rushing Out To Buy Christmas Trees

Country Loving Christmas Tree Farm in Leesburg, Virginia usually begins selling trees on Black Friday, but this year it opened early by popular demand. “People just started calling and calling and calling, ‘Please can I come get a tree now?'” says owner Ricky Hoybach. The weather was nice, and Hoybach began welcoming customers the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Hoybach says the farm, where customers can cut their own trees (and pick from a small selection of pre-cut trees), sells about 500 trees in an average season that ends on Christmas Eve. This year, he’d sold that many by Sunday evening. “We might have to close early this year,” he says. “We might just be sold out.” Hoybach is among a number of Christmas tree purveyors in the D.C. area who have seen increased demand this year. He attributes the surge to customers being “in a rush to get 2020 over with.” “They need Christmas now more than ever,” he says. “They’re just fed up and worn out after the election, and just exhausted from lockdowns and the constant news cycles and they’re ready for a break.” He also says he’s also seen more first-time buyers than usual. How does he know they’re fir newbies? The skyrocketing demand for tree stands. “Usually you buy a stand the first time, and then you use it for years and years,” he says. “So, we sold more stands than we’ve ever done before.” Hoybach also says better weather means better sales, and a recent run of nice days played a role. Hugh Rodell, owner of North Star Christmas Trees, says his four regional locations have seen at least a 30% increase in sales as compared with the same time in past years…

The Hustle, December 5, 2020: The economics of Christmas trees

On a frosty day in November, Beth Ann Bossio walks through the brilliant green rows of Douglas firs at Quarter Pine Farm in Smithfield, Pennsylvania, and marks hundreds of trees with price tags. As the family farm’s head of sales, Bossio has followed the journey of these trees for nearly a decade, from seedlings to 7-foot-tall evergreens. Now, at long last, they’re ready to be sold as Christmas trees. Quarter Pine is one of thousands of Christmas tree farms in America. Collectively, these farms sell 25m-30m real Christmas trees to independent lots, big-box retailers, and garden centers every year. At an average retail price of $75 a pop, these trees make up a $2B+-per-year business. But what are the economics behind that price tag? Who gets the lion’s share of the profit? And how have Christmas tree producers fared with the growing popularity of artificial trees? To find out, The Hustle spoke with Christmas tree farm owners, ecologists, and representatives from both the real and artificial tree markets…

Valletta, Malta, Times of Malta, December 7, 2020: Insect invaders threaten Rome’s iconic pine trees

Rome’s majestic umbrella pines are as much part of the landscape as the ruins and cobbled streets but they are under threat from a tiny insect invader – the pine tortoise scale. “If we do nothing, the pines of Rome will be destroyed by the thousands,” agronomist Franco Milito warned, estimating there are about 60,000 such trees in the city’s public areas and another 30,000 on private land. “And they are really the trees of Rome, which shape the views. We must look after them.” The insects, originally from North America, can kill trees already weakened by the urban environment within just two or three years, experts told AFP. “It’s very serious,” Patrizio Zucca, head of the association of agronomists in Rome, said. “Urgent action is needed.” Toumeyella parvicornis, to give it its Latin name, is about three millimetres long and its reddish-brown oval shell resembles a tortoise. It was unknown in Italy until five years ago but after ravaging the stone pines of Naples in the south, it has moved up the coast. The insect operates like a little vampire, sucking with its syringe-like mouth the sap from both the tree’s needles and its bark…

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, December 7, 2020: Scotland’s ‘Survivor’ rowan to represent Britain in European tree contest

The rowan, dubbed ‘the Survivor’, once perched virtually alone in a valley at Carrifran, near Moffat. Now, after dedicated conservation efforts by a community group over the past 20 years, it is surrounded by new young native trees. In September it was named Scotland’s Tree of the Year in a contest run by the Woodland Trust conservation charity. Members of the public chose the Survivor because it stands as a symbol of hope for woodland restoration. It has now beaten off competition from the Chapter House Tree, at Port Talbot in Wales, and England’s Happy Man Tree, in London’s Hackney, to be named Great British Tree of the Year 2020. As such, it will go forward to the European Tree of the Year competition, organized by the Environmental Partnership Association. Voting will take place online in February…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, December 6, 2020: Two More Trees Deemed Hazards Set For Removal Monday, Tuesday

Two more downtown trees deemed to be safety hazards are scheduled to be removed Monday and Tuesday, the City of Martinez’s Public Works Department said. On Monday, a large tree will be removed from in front of 736 Main St; the 700 block of Main Street is set to be closed from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. to accommodate that work. Then on Tuesday, another tree will be removed from the 500 block of Ferry Street, between Estudillo and Marina Vista. Partial street closures are expected to be in effect from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day. Six other trees considered to be public hazards were recently removed from the 800 block of Main Street, the city said…

Eos, American Geophysical Union, December 3, 2020: How Some Trees Survive the Summer Dry Season

An important component of Earth’s hydrologic cycle is transpiration—the movement of water through plants. Because transpiration affects near-surface temperatures, streamflows, and the productivity of ecosystems, understanding potential sources of subsurface moisture and how plants use them is crucial for developing accurate dynamic vegetation and land surface models. Our knowledge of these processes, however, is far from complete, in part because they are hidden below the ground. To better understand where trees get their water from, Hahm et al. studied Oregon white oaks (Quercus garryana), deciduous hardwoods that thrive in Pacific Northwest locales with thin soils underlain by highly weathered bedrock. Because these gnarled oaks have deep taproots, scientists have long assumed they draw upon groundwater to survive the long dry seasons typical of the Mediterranean climate in their range. To test this hypothesis, the researchers used a combination of isotopic analyses and hydrologic measurements to characterize the sources of water used by the oaks at a study site in Northern California’s Eel River Critical Zone Observatory. The data showed that despite the presence of groundwater just a few meters below the surface, these trees during summer depend primarily upon water drawn from the soil and the deep unsaturated zone, the region of weathered bedrock from which groundwater recedes at the beginning of the dry season. These results indicate that the trees’ use of rock moisture may be due to the groundwater’s low oxygen content and location within bedrock of low permeability….

Phys.org, December 3, 2020: Tree lifespan decline in forests could neutralize part of rise in net carbon uptake

Accelerating tree growth in recent years has been accompanied by a reduction in tree lifespan, which could eventually neutralize part of the increase in net uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2). This trade-off between tree growth and life expectancy applies to forests worldwide, including in the Amazon and other tropical regions, as well as temperate regions and the Arctic. Models and projections of future forest carbon uptake based on the existing system may therefore overestimate the capacity of forests to absorb greenhouse gases over time. In other words, while tree planting is important to help reduce levels of these gases in the atmosphere, it is not sufficient. Efforts to reduce carbon emissions remain essential. These are the key points discussed in an article published in Nature Communications. It reports the findings of a study conducted by a cross-border group of researchers, including Gregório Ceccantini and Giuliano Locosselli, researchers at the University of Paulo’s Institute of Biosciences (IB-USP) in Brazil. Both are supported by FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation)…

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2020: Some Acts of God Are Better Than Others

An enormous oak fell onto one of the apartment buildings I own. There was no water damage or burst pipes at the building. That was the beautiful part. Also, nobody was hurt. Eighteen windows were knocked out, plus there was extensive roof and gutter damage. The building is a 1920s brick cube, most likely constructed by immigrant Italian masons. The building took the tree hit like Marciano. My commercial property insurance has a $5,000 deductible. That’s unfortunately high. “Unfortunately” as in “Unfortunately, this was an act of God.” That’s what the insurance adjustor told me. She also said the cleanup and repair were all on me, even though the tree had fallen from my neighbor’s property—a former funeral-home mansion turned office building. The owner of that building followed up: “Because of the gale force winds, this is labeled an Act of God. In Ohio that means the property the tree lands on is the property responsible for damages and cleaning it up.” I thought to myself, “God has an Ohio policy?” I was screwed. The building needs brickwork along the roof parapet wall, gutter work, the 18 new windows, tree removal and emergency board-up…

Madison, Wisconsin, Wisconsin State Journal, December 3, 2020: High demand for healthy Christmas tree crop

Plenty of rainfall during the past three years has led to a robust crop of Christmas trees from growers scattered throughout Wisconsin. The favorable weather conditions couldn’t have come at a better time. Demand for live Christmas trees is surging on wholesale farms, tree lots and cut-your-own operations from Bayfield to Kenosha, Beloit to Hayward. And COVID-19 is playing a part, only this time with a positive result. Taking a cue from nursery sales this year where lawn and garden seed, perennials and annuals flew out of greenhouses as hunkered-down homeowners had more time on their hands, the state’s Christmas tree industry is seeing a similar trend. Only the increase is coming from those looking for a nostalgic return to normalcy and opting to keep their artificial trees boxed up in attics, basements and crawl spaces…

Phys.org, December 2, 2020: Researchers ask public for help finding lingering ash trees

The search is on for lingering ash, those rare trees that have managed to survive the deadly onslaught of the emerald ash borer. Finding them in the forest is like looking for a needle in the haystack, but the University of Kentucky Department of Forestry and Natural Resources is partnering with the Kentucky Division of Forestry to find as many as possible in an effort to save the species. “The idea is those trees that have some natural genetic resistance to the emerald ash borer are going to be the future of ash,” said Ellen Crocker, UK assistant professor of forest health extension in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “We’ve been trying to find some of these trees for several years now, and when we do, we get their seeds, so the Kentucky Division of Forestry can propagate them at their nursery and hopefully, get them back into the natural landscape.” Because lingering ash are so rare—in other states where ash trees have been decimated by the invasive pest, researchers have only found a handful—Crocker and UK forest health technician Megan Buland are reaching out to the public to help with the search and report any surviving trees in the woods through the TreeSnap app. Researchers are looking for large, mature trees left among those that were killed by the invasive insect. Seedlings that are springing up in the gaps left by dead ash are not eligible for the study, because once large enough, they too will most likely be susceptible to the borer…

WPLG-TV, Miami, Florida, December 2, 2020: Mayor gets involved as residents of Dania Beach neighborhood fight over removal of old oak trees

A Dania Beach neighborhood is divided because of a fight over some very old oak trees. Some are saying that the trees should stay while others believe they need to be cut back. It’s reached the point where the Mayor of Dania Beach has gotten involved. On Wednesday, homeowners along Southwest 36th Terrace stood and watched as decades-old oak trees were chopped to pieces. For years, the street has been adorned and shaded by oak tree hammocks. Now, those trees are in danger. Local 10 captured on tree being cut down in a private lot. Neighbors said they don’t know the owner, but whoever the person is, he or she is within their right thanks to a controversial Florida law passed last year. The law allows property owners to remove virtually any tree, even an old oak, if they get an arborist to certify the tree poses a danger. The law cuts local government’s authority to prevent any trees from being taken down. For neighbors along that Dania Beach street, it’s a tree killing loophole and a tragedy to their way of life…

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, The Oklahoman, December 2, 2020: Nature & You: Were falling, icy tree limbs my fault?

The recent ice storm spurred me to do some soul searching. The abundance of downed tree limbs was the result — obviously — of gravity’s pull on ice-laden tree boughs. But, then again, of what role did I play in this catastrophic calamity? I was left to ponder: Who is to blame for the multitude of shade trees in my home’s front yard, side yard and back yard? My wife and I have been living at this residence for a good quarter century. Thinking back, I can distinctly remember when many of these large, majestic trees were but mere saplings when I dug a hole and gave their roots a new home. It has been said, hindsight is 20/20. Nowadays, I kind of wish I had exhibited a little more foresight before I planted those young trees so near the power lines. The price that I paid was a nine-day span of no electricity. It was a penalty for my poor judgment…

Norway, Maine, Advertiser Democrat, December 3, 2020: Tree Talk: What happens to trees in the winter?

Trees dominate the landscape in the northeast region. The New England and New York region is the most heavily forested (by percentage of area) area in the country. Maine is first and New Hampshire is second. So, what do all those trees do in the winter? They freeze for one thing – or, partially at least. Trees are about half water. Some species like ash less so and others like white pine more so. Regardless, the water in live trees freeze during the winter. Don’t worry, they are constructed to withstand freezing. But they largely go dormant when the freeze happens. The underground parts of the tree may not completely freeze, but not a lot goes on during the winter there either. To survive winter cold, trees begin preparations in late summer as day length shortens. Cold acclimation occurs gradually and includes a number of physiological changes in leaves, stems, and roots. And while fall color seems to get all the attention, it’s what trees do later in autumn that is the most stunning, and harder to see. Broadleaf, deciduous trees, of course, lose their leaves in the winter to reduce water loss. Most needle-leaved trees like white pine or hemlock, known as conifers, retain needles year-round – with exceptions such as larch and bald cypress trees – only losing older, damaged needles. Needles are better at retaining water than broadleaves thanks to their small surface area and waxy outer coating that limits water loss to transpiration, the evaporation of water from leaves…

London, Ontario, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, December 1, 2020: Spike in demand for Christmas trees causing early shortage for local farmers

Christmas tree grower Milt Agate has worked in the Christmas tree business since 1990, but said this year will be his last. His 34-acre farm in Ilderton, about 30 minutes northwest of London, Ont., has been a staple for Christmas tree shoppers. For decades, families have been visiting to pick out their tree and enjoy a warm cup of hot cider and cookies. For the past several years, he has seen a decline in sales. To his surprise, demand was high this year — which caused the sales to skyrocket. “It’s been such a weird year, people are just itching to decorate,” Agate said. “Families want to get together and this is what is bringing them together.” Now, people are also expecting a lot more from “just a traditional Christmas tree farm”, he said. “They want the wagon rides, they want the petting zoo, the Christmas knickknacks.” Agate said he simply cannot afford that, considering the amount of land, manpower and money he would need to operate. It’s pushing him to leave the market. “When you start adding the experience part of it, you’ve got to start looking at manpower,” he said. “Which I don’t have…”

Bloomberg Businessweek, December 1, 2020: Majestic Trees Are Being Clear-Cut in American Suburbs

Mature trees in residential areas are beautiful, good for the environment—and in grave danger of being cut down. In places without protective ordinances, homebuilders routinely remove every tree or nearly every tree on a property when they build on it for the first time or replace a torn-down house with a new one. Even trees that are on the edge of a property, far from the footprint of the new house, are at risk of removal. Even if you aren’t a tree-hugger, it’s hard not to feel your stomach churn when big, healthy trees are reduced to stumps. It also seems financially nonsensical. Handsome trees can raise the sales price of a house; the Council of Tree & Landscape Appraisers even has a formula for how much trees are worth. Most species of oaks, maples, beeches, dogwoods, spruces, and firs earn top scores, while many pines, ashes, willows, poplars, mulberries, and locusts are deemed of relatively little value. Trees provide shade that reduces air-conditioning bills. They also remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, slowing climate change. They can prevent erosion and provide a habitat for birds and other creatures. So why the clear-cutting? Money, of course. For homebuilders, trees are a nuisance. To keep a tree alive while building on a lot, they have to keep heavy equipment far away so they don’t compact the soil above its roots. They also can’t push soil up around the trunk. Preserving trees means keeping the topography of the lot unchanged, which often doesn’t fit their plans…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, December 1, 2020: US: Mountain pine tree that feeds grizzlies is threatened

Climate change, voracious beetles and disease are imperiling the long-term survival of a high-elevation pine tree that’s a key source of food for some grizzly bears and found across the West, U.S. officials said Tuesday. A Fish and Wildlife Service proposal scheduled to be published Wednesday would protect the whitebark pine tree as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, according to documents posted by the Office of the Federal Register. The move marks a belated acknowledgement of the tree’s severe declines in recent decades and sets the stage for restoration work. But government officials said they do not plan to designate which forest habitats are critical to the tree’s survival, stopping short of what some environmentalists argue is needed. Whitebark pines can live up to 1,000 years and are found at elevations up to 12,000 feet (3,600 meters) — conditions too harsh for most tress to survive. Environmentalists had petitioned the government in 1991 and again in 2008 to protect the trees, which occur across 126,000 square miles (326,164 square kilometers) of land in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and western Canada…

Phys.org, December 1, 2020: Cost of planting, protecting trees to fight climate change could jump

Planting trees and preventing deforestation are considered key climate change mitigation strategies, but a new analysis finds the cost of preserving and planting trees to hit certain global emissions reductions targets could accelerate quickly. In the analysis, researchers from RTI International (RTI), North Carolina State University and Ohio State University report costs will rise steeply under more ambitious emissions reductions plans. By 2055, they project it would cost as much as $393 billion per year to pay landowners to plant and protect enough trees to achieve more than 10 percent of total emissions reductions that international policy experts say are needed to restrict climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The findings were published today in the journal Nature Communications. “The global forestry sector can provide a really substantial chunk of the mitigation needed to hit global climate targets,” said Justin Baker, co-author of the study and associate professor of forest resource economics at NC State. “The physical potential is there, but when we look at the economic costs, they are nonlinear. That means that the more we reduce emissions—the more carbon we’re sequestering—we’re paying higher and higher costs for it…”

New York City, WABC-TV, November 30, 2020: Artificial Christmas tree owners turn to the real thing amid coronavirus pandemic

Ani Sirois, a respiratory nurse, has spent months caring for coronavirus patients at a Portland, Oregon, hospital, and she’s only getting busier as infections – and hospitalizations – surge before the holidays. But on a recent sunny day, COVID-19 seemed far away as she, her husband and their 2-year-old daughter roamed a Christmas tree farm in search of the perfect evergreen for a holiday season unlike any other. The family was tree-shopping nearly a week before Thanksgiving and, for the first time, they were picking their own tree instead of buying a pre-cut one. “It’s nice to have home be a separate safe space away from the hospital, and whether we can have a gathering with family or not, I know we’ll have our own little tree with the purple lights, and that’ll be something small to look forward to,” she said. The real Christmas tree industry, which has been battling increased interest in artificial trees, is glad to see that more Americans appear to be flocking to fresh-cut evergreens this season, seeking a bright spot amid the virus’s worsening toll. It’s early in the season, but both wholesale tree farmers and small cut-your-own lots are reporting strong demand, with many opening well before Thanksgiving. Businesses say they are seeing more people and earlier than ever. At some pick-your-own-tree farms, for example, customers sneaked in well before Thanksgiving to tag the perfect tree to cut down once the business opened. As demand surges, big box stores are seeking fresh trees up to a week earlier than last year, and Walmart is offering free home delivery for the first time…

Associated Press, November 30, 2020: Maine tree warden to measure effect of parasitoid flies

Cape Elizabeth’s tree warden has announced that the town will not band trees against the invasive winter moth this winter, in order to measure the progress of the release of parasitoid flies by the Maine Forest Service. In recent years, Cape Elizabeth’s trees have been among the hardest hit by the moth, losing 300 acres of oak trees to winter moth caterpillars that destroy tree foliage, the Portland Press Herald reported. To prevent defoliation, public and private property owners have banded or wrapped tree trunks with barriers designed to prevent female moths from climbing the tree and laying eggs on branches. Since 2013, the Maine Forest Service has introduced thousands of parasitoid flies to combat winter moth populations in Cape Elizabeth, South Portland, Portland, Peaks Island, Harpswell, Kittery, Vinalhaven and Boothbay. A parasitoid is a species of insect larvae that kill their host. “I think the parasitic releases are having an effect,” Todd Robbins, Cape Elizabeth’s tree warden, said…

Detroit, Michigan, WXYZ-TV, November 30, 2020: Help thin national forests by cutting your own tree; some families get a free permit

The US Forest Service hopes families will want to end 2020 with a live tree, preferably one cut from a national forest. Cutting down a Christmas tree is a tradition for many, and a healthy tradition for the forests as smaller trees get thinned out. “By cutting your own tree, you take an active part in managing your national forests,” according to the US Forest Service webpage. Tree hunters should look for an area of tightly-knit, dense trees and pick one from there. This will in turn give the surrounding trees more space to grow, Hillary Santanez, recreation event coordinator with the White River National Forest, explained to KMGH. Thinning the forests in this fashion reduces competition for resources and nutrients so the other trees can grow stronger and healthier, Santanez said. It also helps the trees handle stressful environmental situations, such as drought. In addition, thinning dense forests can help with wildfire mitigation. Families who have a fourth or fifth grader can get a free permit from the Every Kid Outdoors initiative through the US Forest Service. Otherwise, permits to cut down a tree in a national forest run $5 to $20 depending on the park. Permits are required. All permit sales are online for 2020, along with maps, how to select a tree, guidance for cutting it down and safety reminders. Like, dressing for the cold, possibly dark and snowy forest conditions…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, November 30, 2020: Japanese maples are small trees that make a big impact

We’ve covered trees quite a bit in this column lately — and there’s a reason. There’s no other landscape element that can significantly increase property value like trees. Shrubs can’t do that, and neither can flowers, ground covers or turf. The big trees are important, obviously, but the smaller, more ornamental trees can also be powerful and enjoyable. One of the small trees, an Asian import, is a great choice because it behaves and performs like a native. It’s the Japanese maple. The largest-growing and the ones that can take the most sun and abuse are the plants that many of the hybrids have been bred from. They are called simply green Japanese maples (Acer palmatum). They are fast-ish growing, typically have green bark, suffer few if any pest problems and have dramatic red fall color. The cultivar I have had the longest is Acer palmatum var. dissectum, a.k.a. ‘Crimson Queen’. It is rounded and slow-growing to maybe 10 feet tall with a larger spread. It has small reddish flowers followed by colorful samaras that ripen from late summer to early fall. Dissected-leaf plants are called laceleaf, cutleaf or threadleaf Japanese maples. The ‘Mikawa Yatsubusa’ variety is a true dwarf and is slow-growing to 5 feet tall. The foliage is layered close together on curving branches. Fall color is scarlet, orange and yellow. The samaras are red and decorative. It will tolerate some sun, but it’s best to have some afternoon shade. It was the Maple Society’s Maple of the Year in 2015. Acer palmatum, a.k.a. ‘Baby Ghost’, is unique, with deep-amber to red spring foliage with green veins. It’s the shortest of the Ghost series of Japanese maples. Fall colors are bright orange to red. It is one of the hardest in the Ghost series to find, but is worth the effort…

New York City, Post, November 28, 2020: NYC Christmas tree supplier claims Home Depot, Whole Foods selling counterfeit firs

The fir is flying in federal court! Evergreen East, a Wisconsin-based Christmas tree cooperative that bills itself as “New York’s finest Christmas tree sellers,” alleges Home Depot, Whole Foods and their supplier conspired last year to scam Big Apple tree buyers by labeling cheaper Canadian Balsam firs as pricey Fraser firs — the Cadillac of conifers, according to court papers. Frasers are famous for the two-tone color of their needles, dark green on top with a silver underside. The Manhattan federal court complaint alleges that during the 2019 Christmas season, the retailers “sold potentially hundreds of thousands of Balsam Fir trees which they intentionally mislabeled and falsely advertised as Fraser Fir trees.” The Frasers are sold on Manhattan sidewalks by Evergreen’s mom-and-pop shop clients for upwards of $179 for a 6-footer and $699 for a 12-footer. The fugazi firs being sold by the big retailers — which came from North Carolina-based supplier Bottomley Evergreen — start at just $80 for a 6-footer, said Evergreen East president Kevin Hammer, 64. He said the fictitious firs crippled the competition — and cheated unsuspecting tree shoppers. “I’ve been doing this for 47 years. We are not a pimple on Bottomley’s ass,” the Bensonhurst-bred Hammer raged to The Post. “We are a cooperative that has been selling trees retail exclusively in New York City since 1974…”

Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat Gazette, November 29, 2020: Faulkner County woman named Outstanding Tree Farmer

Pamela Patton Jolly is the 2020 Outstanding Tree Farmer of Arkansas.
Jolly was recognized by the Arkansas Tree Farm Program, which is administered by the Arkansas Forestry Association, at the AFA annual meeting held virtually on Oct. 1. “The Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year award was created to recognize private landowners who have done an exceptional job of forest management and actively promoting sustainable forestry,” said Jennifer Johnson, Arkansas Tree Farm Program administrator. “As the Arkansas program administrator, I not only get to work with such remarkable landowners but also get to know them and call them friends,” Johnson said. “Pam is an exemplary steward of her land. She is also a caring individual who helps others learn the benefits of sustainable forestry — she talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to tree farms. “Pam is not the first woman to win this award, although it is rare,” Johnson added. Jolly’s 223-acre farm — the Patton Tree Farm — is 8 miles west of Danville in Yell County. Jolly said the acreage, which is described by the AFA as a forest, includes 139 acres of hardwoods, “mostly oak and hickory, and 40 acres of loblolly pine.” “I named the farm after my parents, the late James and Helen Patton of Wooster,” Jolly said. “My dad operated a 460-acre farm on Cadron Creek, and I always enjoyed going to the farm with him as I was growing up…”

Biotonomy, November 27, 2020: When Trees and Buildings Become Functionally Indistinguishable

The idea of having waste is just not natural. There is nothing one can point out in nature and say that is of no purpose. The concept of throwing something away, only exist in our minds. In reality – everything transforms, but nothing goes away. In the natural world, there is no waste, everything is a nutrient that is recycled and reused infinitely. Every tree on this planet is designed to reuse its leaves over and over again. When leaves fall on the ground, a community of organisms helps transform them into energy so that trees can absorb it back through their roots. This process also helps develop healthy soil that is conducive to other life. Nature does not rely on centralized waste management. Every ecosystem is designed to process their own “waste” locally. In the forest, the leaves are spread out equally on the ground by the wind and not piled up around one big tree. Waste becomes a big problem when it is piled up. It is time we fundamentally change our perspective regarding waste management. With decentralized & nature-based sewage solutions we can transform waste into energy for both our ecosystems and ourselves…

Bloomberg, November 24, 2020: Bill Gross’s Neighbor Says Pleas for Peace Fell on Deaf Ears

Billionaire Bill Gross gave his California oceanfront neighbor a choice: Drop the complaints about the glass sculpture in the “Bond King’s” yard or face the music. Tech entrepreneur Mark Towfiq told a judge in Santa Ana Monday that the threat filled him with dread, but he refused to cave in to what he called Gross’s extortion attempt. Gross, co-founder of Pacific Investment Management Co., and Towfiq began feuding after the billionaire installed a large net over the 22-foot-long piece of art by Dale Chihuly, which had been damaged. Towfiq filed a complaint with the City of Laguna Beach, and Gross responded by blasting music at all hours of the day. The two sued each other for harassment. In a case about lifestyles of the rich and famous in Orange County, Towfiq says the million-dollar piece of art might have been broken by a falling palm frond when Gross hosted a private Kenny Loggins concert in his cliffside backyard. Gross says the sculpture may have been damaged by a rock and the net was put up to protect it from the elements and vandals. Days after he filed the formal complaint, Towfiq testified he and his wife returned home about 11:30 p.m. on July 31 to rap music blaring from Gross’s home, followed by the theme songs from “Gilligan’s Island,” “Green Acres,” and “MASH.” Towfiq said he texted Gross’s girlfriend, asking for the music to be turned down, and got a response, apparently from Gross — “peace on all fronts or well just have nightly concerts big boy…”

Albany, New York, Times Union, November 26, 2020: Christmas tree farms open earlier, but with fewer bells and whistles

Black Friday is typically the famous grand-opening day for Christmas tree farms, but this year, in anticipation of families that are both eager for an outdoor outing and are hoping to avoid crowds, some opened early. The ones that didn’t, wish they had. “We’ve never seen this much interest this early,” said Garth Ellms, owner of Ellms Family Farm in Ballston Spa, about opening a week before Thanksgiving. “We probably could have sold a hundred-plus Christmas trees if we were open.” Don’t count on shopping at the gift shop, eating sweets, and sipping hot drinks when out getting a Christmas tree this year. Many farms, though not all, are closing indoor areas and selling less food in efforts to follow state COVID-19 safety guidelines. State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball encouraged New Yorkers to buy from one of the 750 local tree farms in upstate New York. The state ranks sixth in the U.S. for the number of acres dedicated to growing Christmas trees, according to the department. “It is more important this year than ever that New Yorkers support local farmers and businesses when doing their holiday shopping, whether they’re looking for a Christmas tree or a delicious addition to their holiday meal,” Ball said at an event at Goderie’s Tree Farm in Johnstown on Monday…

Eureka Alert, November 26, 2020: In temperate trees, climate-driven increase in carbon capture causes autumn leaves to fall sooner

For decades, scientists have expected that the shedding of leaves from temperate trees will get later and later under ongoing climate change. And early observations supported that idea, as warming caused leaves to stay on the trees later over recent decades, driving increased growing season length that could help to slow the rate of climate change. However, a large-scale study of European trees now suggests that this trend is beginning to change, and in fact, tree leaves may start to fall earlier as the productivity of those trees increases. The results build on growing evidence that plant growth is limited by the ability of tree tissues to use and store carbon. While changes in the growing-season lengths of temperate trees greatly affect global carbon balance, future growing-season trajectories remain highly uncertain because the environmental drivers of autumn leaf senescence are poorly understood. Autumn leaf-shedding at the end of the growing season in temperate regions is an adaptation to stressors, such as freezing temperatures. A common related assumption is that alleviating some of these stressors – as a warmer climate could – would allow leaves to persist longer to fix more atmospheric carbon by photosynthesis. However, the role of photosynthesis in governing the timing of leaf senescence has not been widely tested in trees. To do this, Deborah Zani and colleagues used long-term observations from dominant Central European tree species from 1948 to 2015, and experiments designed to modify carbon uptake by trees, to evaluate related impacts on senescence. Collectively, their data show that increased growing-season productivity in spring and summer due to elevated carbon dioxide, temperature, or light levels can lead to earlier – not later – leaf senescence. This is likely because roots and wood cease to use or store leaf-captured carbon at a point, making leaves costly to keep…

Richmond, Virginia, Times Dispatch, November 27, 2020: After a busy year, Richmond-area Christmas tree sellers brace themselves for a busy season

Christmas came to Strange’s around the same time it normally does, but customers were eager to see the holidays sooner. “We were getting phone calls in July, beginning of July, ‘When are you gonna have your trees up?'” said Heidi Oistad, the sales floor manager for Strange’s Florists, Greenhouse and Garden Centers in Short Pump. “The artificial ones. It was like, it’s July. It’s only July.” Ahead of Thanksgiving, the store was a holiday explosion with displays of artificial trees and a sea of pink, red and cream poinsettias that sprawl out as far as the eye can see in the greenhouse. Outside, Christmas trees in uniform rows reach toward string lights. The season’s all about a search for normalcy in a year that’s been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone’s happy to see decorations out, Oistad said. Assistant operations manager Jeremy Cochran called them a “happy distraction” for customers, with the holidays giving them something to plan for. Sneed’s Nursery in South Richmond started getting calls about Christmas offerings in November, which operations manager Jenny Rash said was early for them too. Everyone’s ready to start decorating a bit earlier, she said. “Just as a garden center, our sales are up so significantly over last year, because everyone’s stuck at home and wants to enjoy their space and I think that decorating for Christmas is just another way to bring joy into your life,” Rash said…

USA Today, November 24, 2020: ‘It’s working!’ Deer, bears and other critters like Utah’s first wildlife bridge — and the state has video to prove it.

The first wildlife bridge in Utah is working as intended. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has proof. A video shared by the department on Nov. 19 shows various animals — including deer, bears and bobcats — using the Parleys Canyon Wildlife Overpass, which spans Interstate 80 southeast of Salt Lake City. “It’s working!” the department captioned the video. The $5 million project “has been successful at helping wildlife safely migrate over busy Interstate 80 and helping motorists be much safer as well,” the DWR wrote. The nearly 350-foot-long bridge, which opened in December 2018, is the first of its kind in the state, according to the Utah Department of Transportation. The bridge’s construction came after 46 deer, 14 moose, and four elk were killed on that stretch of highway in 2016 and 2017 alone. UDOT spokesman John Gleason told the Salt Lake Tribune in 2019 that although the organization prefers to analyze data over 3-5 years, early results of the wildlife crossing were “encouraging…”

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2020: Orchard of the Dammed

November is a peaceful time in the apple orchard. This year’s crop has been harvested and sold; amber-colored leaves float earthbound in the breeze. A flick of the finger nudges still-clinging leaves to the orchard floor—a simple pleasure. So, we were more than surprised, as we opened the gate to gather the last of the season’s drops, to find a furry ball under an Idared tree, unhurriedly munching on an apple sandwiched between its paws. We chased him away with a clanking garbage can lid and the next day with a tractor. But he kept coming back. I got on the horn to Rog, who lives a mile south: “Can I put you on beaver alert?” “My .22 will be ready,” said Rog, a long-retired postmaster with time on his hands. For years Rog, a backwoodsman by instinct, has been our go-to man for beavers—and for woodchucks and chipmunks, until I completed my apprenticeship. Beavers being a board-certified specialty, a decade or more ago I had called Rog just after Thanksgiving, when beavers, using front paws and snout, had dammed up the stream that feeds into our quarter-acre pond. They had downed a 16-inch-thick weeping willow and a 75-foot-high white birch, whose branches and twigs they packed with mud and grass to secure the dam. It ran 20 feet across and 4 feet high. It took Rog a month of early-morning visits, slogging around in hip boots, to trap the responsible party, which sat in his wife’s freezer until pelt prices rose…

Portland, Oregon, KOIN-TV, November 24, 2020: Melania Trump’s error puts Oregon Christmas tree farm in spotlight

An Oregon Christmas tree farm is getting some unexpected attention after a mistake in a press release from first lady Melania Trump’s office cast a spotlight on their business. According to CNN, the first lady’s office incorrectly said the 2020 White House Christmas tree was coming from a farm in Lebanon, Oregon. A White House communications official corrected the farm and the state Friday, saying the 18.5-foot Fraser Fir is in fact coming from Dan and Bryan’s Tree Farm in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. However, confusion arose again Sunday when Melania Trump tweeted saying the tree was coming from “Oregon’s West Tree Farm.” This tweet was later deleted and replaced with a tweet that again clarified the tree was coming from West Virginia. While there is not a “West Tree Farm” in Oregon, there is West’s Tree Farm, located in Lebanon. Tree farm owner Jon West said the whole situation has given his family something to laugh about. “We are not, not, not, not, not furnishing a Christmas tree for the White House,” West said. “Somebody somewhere made a mistake and instead of the tree coming from West Virginia, it got sent out that the tree was coming from West Tree Farm – little bit of difference.” West said word spread rapidly on social media after the initial release Friday. He said Gov. Kate Brown had even tweeted congratulating his farm. Her office later left West a message apologizing for the mistake…

New York City, The Gothamist, November 20, 2020: This Owl Wasn’t The Rockefeller Center Tree’s First Feathered Stowaway

Earlier this week, days after the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was propped up in its open-air grave in Midtown, word came out that a secret passenger had been discovered within its lifeless branches: a tiny Northern Saw-whet Owl. Later nicknamed “Rockefeller,” the owl was transported to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, where it was fed mice and brought back to full strength after days of being trapped in the tree without food or water. Rockefeller is set to be released back into the wild at dusk on Saturday. This was not the first time that wildlife local to the tree’s roots had been transported to Manhattan on a flat bed truck, wrapped up in the tree’s branches. Angela Higgins McNeil told Gothamist that in 2018, her father, Don Higgins, was a part of the tree crew at Rockefeller Center, and found an owl in the branches. “[He was] part of the electrician crew, so as soon as the tree is up they start putting up the scaffolding and wiring extra branches in, the owl was chilling in there while the scaffolding was up,” she told us. “I believe they caught him and brought him to an animal rescue…”

Science Tech Daily, November 24, 2020: NASA Uses Powerful Supercomputers and AI to Map Earth’s Trees, Discovers Billions of Trees in West African Drylands

Scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and international collaborators demonstrated a new method for mapping the location and size of trees growing outside of forests, discovering billions of trees in arid and semi-arid regions and laying the groundwork for more accurate global measurement of carbon storage on land. Using powerful supercomputers and machine learning algorithms, the team mapped the crown diameter – the width of a tree when viewed from above – of more than 1.8 billion trees across an area of more than 500,000 square miles, or 1,300,000 square kilometers. The team mapped how tree crown diameter, coverage, and density varied depending on rainfall and land use. Mapping non-forest trees at this level of detail would take months or years with traditional analysis methods, the team said, compared to a few weeks for this study. The use of very high-resolution imagery and powerful artificial intelligence represents a technology breakthrough for mapping and measuring these trees. This study is intended to be the first in a series of papers whose goal is not only to map non-forest trees across a wide area, but also to calculate how much carbon they store – vital information for understanding the Earth’s carbon cycle and how it is changing over time…

Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch, November 23, 2020: Spotted lanternfly makes landfall in Ohio; officials urge vigilance

It was a flickering neon light that may have attracted it. It’s likely the red and grey distinctive spotted fly hopped from a nearby rail car, which routinely runs about 50 feet away from the shop’s window. Jason Kopras, an auto glass shop owner, found the spotted lanternfly on the windowsill of his business JK Auto Glass, in Mingo Junction. It marks the first documented case of the spotted lanternfly in Ohio. If, and when, the invasive species becomes entrenched in Ohio, experts say it will have a devastating ripple effect on state growers. “I said, ‘Man it’s the weirdest looking moth I’ve ever seen. When I looked at it, it was dead. I picked it up, brought it inside and set it on my file cabinet for about a week,” Kopras said. He tied it to a fishing lure as a joke. “I kept showing people that came in because the design on this thing was amazing. I didn’t know it was a nuisance,” he said. The spotted lanternfly, which is native to Asia, decimates almonds, apples, blueberries, cherries, peaches, grapes and hops, as well as hardwoods such as oak, walnut and poplar, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture. The insect is likely to find Ohio’s weather ideal. About a week after Kopras found the fly, Ben Long, 43, a mechanic who follows Ohio State University’s extension Facebook group, immediately recognized the fly from posts online…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, November 22, 2020: Judge Issues Injunction To Stop Tree Removal Along Trail

A federal bankruptcy court judge on Friday issued a preliminary injunction order stopping, at least temporarily, preventing PG&E from cutting down 17 trees along the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail — trees that have been at the heart of a running dispute between the city and the utility. Judge Dennis Montali of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California issued the ruling. That comes three days after Montali granted a temporary restraining order stopping PG&E from cutting down the trees adjacent to the trail, which is owned by the East Bay Regional Park District but within the city limits of Lafayette. The city of Lafayette sued PG&E on Nov. 13; the trees’ removal was set to begin as soon as Nov. 16 as part of a PG&E effort to improve access to underground natural gas pipelines. The city contends the trees’ removal would violate a 2017 agreement stipulates that the utility cannot remove trees within Lafayette city limits until all obligations in the agreement have been met. According to the city, “PG&E has not met its obligations under the (2017) agreement to provide all information required by the city’s Tree Protection regulations.” Friday’s preliminary injunction order will remain in effect pending further order of the court…

Mic, November 23, 2020: How counting city trees can aid the fight for racial equality

Everybody loves trees. They’re good for all sorts of things. According to a 2019 study published in the journal Plants People Planet, trees can get rid of air pollution, reduce stress, and promote a feeling of community. They can also reduce rising urban temperatures, provide shelter for local animals, and manage stormwater in the area. It’s no wonder that reforestation has become a go-to choice for corporations making pledges to become carbon neutral by mid-century. The overwhelming evidence from the scientific literature suggests that investing in trees is […] ultimately an investment for a better world,” wrote the study’s authors. However, although nature is open to all, it’s not necessarily accessible to all. A non-profit conservation group called American Forests is looking to fix this problem by creating a “Tree Equity Score” for cities. The score is obtained through calculations based on satellite imagery of tree canopy cover, estimates of the population, and census data on income levels. Then a priority is assigned based on the demographics of the location’s residents, including race, income, age, and urban heat island severity. The resulting score will show which areas should be prioritized for tree planting. “A map of tree cover in virtually any city in America is also effectively a map of income and race,” Jad Daley, CEO and president of the organization, told Grist. Lower income neighborhoods have less trees compared to higher income areas. This means that vulnerable communities, groups that suffer more from the effects of climate change and air pollution, are being neglected when they’re the demographic that could benefit the most from trees…

Wichita, Kansas, Eagle, November 23, 2020: What to do if your trees and plants are prematurely budding with the unseasonal temps

Following a cool October with a surprising snowfall, an unseasonably warm November has confused some trees and shrubs around Wichita. Thinking it’s spring already, they’ve begun breaking out with buds. While experts say that trees beginning to bud too early in the early spring or late winter isn’t a rare sight, it is less common that they start to bud in fall. Tree growth patterns depend heavily on the weather to tell them what to do, and weather fluctuations in recent months are likely the cause for trees beginning to bud. This November’s average monthly temperature is nearly six degrees hotter than it usually is, while October was 3.5 degrees cooler than average, according to Vanessa Pearce, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Wichita. Overall, 2020 has been warmer than usual. “We’re not talking crazy (increases). You’re talking a couple of degrees,” Pearce said. “This month so far is the most extreme and has the highest difference between what normal is and what the average is so far.” When late summers and early falls have hot, dry spells, some plants and trees will shed some leaves and go into a summer dormancy to survive…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, November 22, 2020: Christmas tree farm swamped by customers on first day of season

When Mark Harnett stepped out the door of his timber frame house and looked over his Christmas tree farm Sunday morning, he saw an endless line of cars. It was the first day Mistletoe Christmas Tree Farm in Stow was open this year, and it has never been so bustling. “This was our busiest day in 12 years of farming,” Harnett said late Sunday afternoon. With the COVID-19 pandemic shaking up norms — the busiest time for sales is usually the weekend after Thanksgiving — and customers fearing another lockdown, he said, the farm was swamped by thousands people looking for an early start to their holiday decorating. “Hundreds and hundreds and hundred of trees — and these were not small trees,” said Harnett. The farm specializes in trees of 10 to 15 feet, some that have been growing there as long as Harnett has owned the farm where he lives with his family. The farm, which decks out its own holiday decorations and blasts Christmas music, sold out almost all of its cut-your-own trees for the season, although they also have pre-cut trees grown elsewhere for sale into December. Ornaments, wreaths, and other decorations also sold tremendously, he said. “There was a run on everything.” The crowds at the tree farm were one of many indications that the pandemic is encouraging many families to begin decorating early…

Abilene, Texas, Reporter-News, November 22, 2020: Bruce Kreitler: What does a tree mean to the world?

First of all, I would like to wish everybody a good Thanksgiving. And for that matter, the entire holiday season moving forward. By the way, I just want to point out that a lot of things that grace holiday tables, especially pecan pies, come from trees. Just as trees present an opportunity for us to harvest food, so it goes for other entities that don’t operate, or feed, quite as we do. When you are looking at a tree growing somewhere, you’re seeing a lot of things that aren’t immediately apparent, unless you give it a lot of thought. It’s easy enough to see a bunch of pears hanging on a pear tree, and realize that those things are edible and represent food. It’s not quite as easy to look at a tree trunk on a big shade tree, and think about all the things that would like to feed directly on that tree trunk, and digest if for their own uses. Of course, I do think of that kind of thing, because I run into the organisms that specialize in that kind of feeding all the time. I also try to interrupt that feeding cycle, in an effort to keep the tree healthy, and retain it. Sadly, things that eat the wood in trees, do it as if their life depends on it (it does), and they can be hard to deal with. Another thing that a successful tree represents, especially the larger ones, is lost opportunities. The green world is definitely a dog-eat-dog place, with a continual fight for resources among plants…

NPR, November 22, 2020: Climate Change Closes In On Lebanon’s Iconic Cedar Trees

Khaled Taleb steps out of his vehicle high on a mountainside in northern Lebanon, and surveys the charred remains of the cedar forest he fought to save. A black carpet of the trees’ burned needles crunches underfoot. Armed with only gardening tools and cloth masks, Taleb and four friends spent the night of Aug. 23 on this mountainside battling a wildfire that swept up from the valley and engulfed this high-altitude woodland of cedars and juniper trees. “The fear we felt for ourselves was nothing compared to the fear we had for the trees,” recalls Taleb, who played under these boughs as a child, and who has worked for their protection since he was 16. Now 29, he runs an ecotourism and conservation group he founded called Akkar Trail. The cedar tree is a source of national pride in Lebanon. Its distinctive silhouette of splayed branches graces the national flag. The forests here have furthered empires, providing Phoenicians with timber for their merchant ships, and early Egyptians with wood for elaborately carved sarcophagi. But now the very survival of these ancient giants is in question. Scientists say rising temperatures and worsening drought conditions brought about by climate change are driving wildfires in this Middle Eastern country to ever higher altitudes, encroaching upon the mountains where the cedars grow…

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, November 22, 2020: Extension agents share pruning tips for maple trees: Ask an expert

Q: Last fall we took down two red maples that were rotting internally. The stumps have now produced a lot of shoots 3-4 feet tall. Should I thin these shoots out now. If so, which shoots should I leave and how many. I know there was a Tree School webinar that included this but I can’t remember which one. – Yamhill County
A: Even if a tree produces copious numbers of sprouts, it’s no guarantee that they’ll all live. Some trees apparently “self-thin” their sprout production. And in many cases sprouts die because they are infected by rot from the stump itself. Leave two or at most three sprouts to a clump, as widely spaced as possible, to assure good growth and form. Generally, you should thin them early and preferably when stems are 3 inches or less. Many gardeners limit pruning to fall and winter, when the tree is dormant and no longer creating new growth. Pruning does not have to be limited to dormant phases of the tree’s life, however. Maple trees contain sap, which will “bleed” if the tree is pruned in early spring or late winter. To avoid this phenomenon, pruning may be put off until summer. The only time that’s off-limits is early summer, when pruning may damage tender new bud growth. Maple trees may be pruned for shaping purposes; this is the practice of thinning and trimming trees to make them look more attractive. For some trees, the practice of thinning branches is a necessity because canopy growth becomes too dense for tree health. When pruning branches in order to maintain a specific tree shape or thin out the canopy, cuts may be made any time but early spring…

The Street, November 17, 2020: American timber industry crippled by double whammy of trade war and COVID-19

The forestry sector – landowners, logging companies and sawmills – have lost an estimated US$1.1 billion in 2020. Devastating wildfires and Hurricane Laura have played a part, but the COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to significant losses. If workers are required to stay home, then no trees will be felled or logs sawed into lumber. These losses have been exacerbated and amplified because of a longstanding trade war that has severely curbed the sale of U.S. forestry products to foreign markets, particularly China. I am a professor of economics with a specialty in international agricultural trade, trade policy and global food demand. My work at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is informed by my nearly 10 years as a senior economist with USDA researching international trade issues affecting agriculture and forestry. Forest product exports in the U.S., including logs and lumber, were valued at $9.6 billion in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Forest products are the third leading U.S. agricultural export sector after soybeans and corn. In 2018, China accounted for nearly $3 billion of U.S. forest product exports. The forest products relationship between China and the U.S. is complex. The U.S. sells logs and lumber to China; China uses the logs and lumber to produce finished wood products, such as furniture and hardwood flooring; and China exports these finished wood products to the world. Interestingly, the U.S. market is the leading destination for these exports. In 2018, U.S. imports of wooden furniture and other wood products from China exceeded $9 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau…

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, November 17, 2020: Judge grants Lafayette restraining order to halt PG&E from cutting trees

A judge has granted a temporary restraining order stopping PG&E from cutting down 17 trees. The trees are on the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail and in an open space located north of downtown, within the city limits but on East Bay Regional Parks District property. The limited temporary restraining order requested by the city of Lafayette was granted Tuesday by Judge Dennis Montali of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California. The city sued the utility last week, and alleges that PG&E failed to comply with a 2017 Tree Removal Agreement when it sought to cut down the trees, and didn’t give the city enough notice of the removal. “The city of Lafayette takes extremely seriously the agreements that we signed, and we expect that a major utility would do likewise, and would follow the provisions laid out in the agreement it has signed,” Lafayette spokesman Jeff Heyman told this newspaper last week…

US Army Corps of Engineers, November 17, 2020: ERDC scientist creates algorithm to distinguish the forest from the trees

When people think about the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), there are many innovative solutions that come to mind — from blast-proof wallpaper used to protect employees at the Pentagon to the rover wheels created for landing on the moon. However, two other innovative solutions deserve to be noticed: land cover mapping and statistical modeling, which both support our nation’s Warfighters. Forest cover maps derived from satellite and aerial imagery directly support military operations, but distinguishing tree cover from other vegetative land covers is an analytical challenge. Tree cover impacts military operations by hindering vehicle and troop movement, preventing helicopter access and providing concealment to the enemy, and it’s upon these challenges that ERDC’s Geospatial Research Laboratory’s (GRL) Physical Scientist Dr. Sarah J. Becker and her team recently focused their efforts. Exploring nature is a passion for Becker, a Corte Madera, California, native, and working at GRL allows her to marry her passion and job. “I love exploring local parks and hiking trails, like Great Falls Park and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Virginia,” she said… “While the commonly used Normalized Difference Vegetation Index can identify vegetative cover, it does not distinguish between tree and low-stature vegetation consistently,” Becker said. “We developed the Forest Cover Index (FCI) algorithm take the multiplicative product of the red and near infrared bands to separate tree cover from other land covers in multispectral imagery…”

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, November 17, 2020: Learn about the world’s best trees — and let ideas for your own yard take root

There are many fabulous trees in the world, and some of the most interesting ones are in Texas. Learning about their unbelievable potential may help you get excited about planting new trees of your own. Rather than dropping everything to travel the world to see all the fabulous trees I know about, you can experience them without leaving your house. The Dirt Doctor organization has created two ways to experience these trees. First, we have website library entries, which are the best places to find the most details. But there is an easier way to see the basic facts and the most photographs of these great trees. It’s the Fabulous Trees Slideshow. View it free at the top right corner of dirtdoctor.com. I hope you enjoy it — I still do every time I see it. In the slideshow, you will see the national champion pecan, the state champion ginkgo, the largest kapok in Costa Rica, the largest Montezuma cypress in the world, the oldest trees in the world and much more. Not only can you see the greatest trees in the world — many that you can grow here in North Texas — but the slideshow also shows the planting and management details that I have discovered to be the most successful and cost-effective…

Los Angeles, California, Times, November 16, 2020: Hundreds of towering giant sequoias killed by the Castle fire — a stunning loss

Kristen Shive glanced around the blackened forest and started counting. She stopped at 13 — the number of giant sequoias she spotted with charred trunks, scorched crowns and broken limbs. The towering trees had grown on this Sierra Nevada ridge top for well over 500 years. They had lived through many wildfires and droughts. But they could not survive the Castle fire, which swept into the Alder Creek Grove in the early hours of Sept. 13. The Castle fire was different from previous wildfires as all-consuming flames turned the giant trees into sequoia skeletons. One of the monster wildfires birthed by California’s August lightning blitz, the Castle fire burned through portions of roughly 20 giant sequoia groves on the western slopes of the Sierra, the only place on the planet they naturally grow. Sequoia experts may never know how many of the world’s most massive trees died in the Castle fire, but judging by what they have seen so far, they say the number is certainly in the hundreds — and could easily top 1,000. “This fire could have put a noticeable dent in the world’s supply of big sequoias,” said Nate Stephenson, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. The Castle fire is just the latest in a string of wildfires since 2015 that have fried monarch sequoias — trees that nature designed to not only withstand fire but thrive with it. They are armored with thick bark. Their high branches are out of reach of most flames. Their cones — no larger than a chicken egg — release seeds when exposed to a burst of heat. The problem is that the wildfires chewing through sequoia groves these days are not the kind that the long-lived giants evolved with. A century of fire suppression, the 2012-16 drought and rising temperatures have combined to produce more intense fires that are taking an alarming toll on the copper-hued behemoths…

Denver, Colorado, KCNC-TV, November 16, 2020: Colorado Wildfires Put Christmas Tree Cutting On Hold In 2 National Forest Areas

The sight of a car headed down the road and weighted down by a tree on its roof is a fairly common one at this time of year in Colorado’s high country. But those families looking to cut down their own Christmas trees in the Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests will have to wait a bit longer because those areas were affected by three large wildfires. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service said crews are still evaluating cutting locations in the aftermath of the Williams Fork Fire, East Troublesome Fire and Cameron Peak Fire, which burned more than 650 square miles. Christmas tree cutting permits are on sale at a number of other national forests in the state…

San Francisco, California, KPIX-TV, November 16, 2020: Scientists Identify Mysterious Tree Fungus Killing Thousands Of Acacia Trees In Oakland Hills

There’s new color in the East Bay Hills but they are not Fall colors. The changing leaves are the result of a mysterious and deadly tree fungus attacking Acacia trees all across the Bay Area.Tens of thousands of Acacia trees are dead and dying across this ridge above Oakland. Scientists are collecting samples of wood to study in labs, trying to determine what exactly is killing the trees. They may have a clue. Natalie Vandoorn is an Urban Ecologist Researcher for the U.S. Forest Service. “It’s a fairly new fungal pathogen called the Pistachio Canker, originated in Italy,” said Vandoorn. Scientists caution they’ve also identified several other fungi, so the preliminary data is just that, preliminary. People in the neighborhood started noticing it last summer. Marilyn Rhodes is 93. She has lived here a long time and has specific concerns. “I noticed because I am very fire conscious because these hills burned just a year after I moved here in 1960 The whole hill burned and fortunately not one of our houses burned but it very freighting to think it could happen again,’ said Rhodes. Cutting down and chipping the trees could spread the fungus spores and make matters worse. There’s no easy or cheap solution says Mark Rauzon. “We’re at just the tip of the iceberg on this problem, this ecological problem and it’s much bigger than Oakland,” said Rauzon…

Yahoo News, November 16, 2020: New Tree Equity Score Drives Home the Important Role of Trees in Creating Social Equity and Minimizing Climate Change Impacts in Cities

American Forests today unveiled its Tree Equity Score, which will help cities in the United States address a problem that exacerbates social inequities and climate change impacts nationwide—often far fewer trees in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Tree Equity Score provides an indicator of whether a neighborhood has Tree Equity, defined as the right number of trees so all people experience the health, economic and other benefits that trees provide. Calculated neighborhood scores are based on such factors as existing tree cover, population density, income, employment, race, ethnicity, age and urban heat island effect (as measured by surface temperatures). City government employees, community activists, urban foresters and others will be encouraged to use the scores to make the case for planting, protecting and maintaining trees in the neighborhoods that need them the most, as well as securing the funding needed to do so. “Trees are more than just scenery for our cities,” said American Forests President and CEO Jad Daley. “They are critical infrastructure to protect people in our rapidly warming climate and are as essential for public safety as are streetlights…” Tree Equity Score will eventually cover 486 U.S. Census-defined urbanized areas in the country, home to 70% of the U.S. population. This includes cities and towns that have at least 50,000 people. The initial Tree Equity Scores released today cover multiple cities and towns in Maricopa County, AZ (home to Phoenix), the San Francisco Bay area of California and Rhode Island. These initial scores, found at www.TreeEquityScore.org, consistently show a need to plant, protect and take care of more trees in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods…

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, November 13, 2020: Lafayette to sue PG&E over plans to cut down 17 trees

The city is filing a lawsuit to temporarily halt Pacific Gas and Electric from cutting down trees on a regional trail inside Lafayette, alleging the utility did not give the city enough notice or follow agreed-upon regulations. Beginning next Monday, PG&E plans to cut down 17 trees on the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail and in an open space north of downtown. The plan is part of a larger initiative by the utility to remove trees so that its maintenance workers can easily access gas transmission pipelines in an emergency. The city signed off on PG&E’s tree-removal efforts in a 2017 agreement that outlines several obligations the utility must fulfill. With this latest project, however, officials say PG&E has not fulfilled any of them. Specifically, the city claims it wasn’t alerted to the plan until Tuesday, and that PG&E has not gone through a local regulatory process. And while Lafayette can’t stop the utility from ultimately cutting down the trees, since they are on park district land, it wants to at least delay the procedure. “The city of Lafayette takes extremely seriously the agreements that we signed, and we expect that a major utility would do likewise, and would follow the provisions laid out in the agreement it has signed,” said Lafayette spokesman Jeff Heyman. PG&E officials would not comment directly on the city’s allegations since the utility has not yet received the lawsuit. But a spokesman said that project officials did comply with the agreement, including by paying mitigation costs for the 17 trees in question back in April…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, November 15, 2020: Eversource pilots helicopter tree-trimming program

Eversource is piloting a tree-trimming program that uses helicopters to access areas challenging to reach with vehicles and other equipment. The energy company contracted with Rotor Blade to conduct overhead trimming along a remote power line corridor in Antrim last week. “The tree trimming that we completed in Antrim will help to ensure reliable power for nearly 1,000 of our customers in the region, addressing a circuit that has been prone to tree-related outages in recent storms,” Eversource Manager of Vegetation Management Bob Allen said in a news release. “The work we completed in one day using a helicopter would have taken four climbing crews several weeks working by foot. Enhancing the efficiency of our tree trimming in remote areas enables our team to cover more ground as we continue addressing the large number of dead, hazardous trees across the state that threaten overhead electric lines.” According to the news release, Eversource plans to explore expanding its use of helicopters for trimming along circuits in areas of the state with similarly rocky terrain. Using helicopters for the work reduces the risk of injury to tree crews and is also more time- and cost-effective than ground-to-sky trimming…

Richmond, Virginia, Times-Dispatch, November 13, 2020: 100-year old magnolia trees removed at Virginia Museum of History & Culture, neighbors express sadness and concern

The magnolia trees behind the Virginia Museum of History & Culture in the Museum District have been providing shade and sanctuary for more than a century. Richmonders have played there, proposed there and picnicked under their glossy leaves, according to social media posts. That’s why some neighbors expressed shock and concern last week when nearly 40 of the 100-year-old magnolia trees were cut down. “I heard the buzzing of the chainsaws, and I went over there to check it out. They were falling like matchsticks. They were just coming down: boom, boom, boom,” said Jane Hamilton, a neighbor on nearby Kensington Avenue. “I was shocked and saddened. I didn’t know what was going on.” The tree removal is part of the museum’s $30 million expansion and renovation project that started in October. The museum is changing the layout of the complex, expanding the parking lot and moving its green space from the center of the parking lot to be adjacent to the museum, where officials hope it will get more active use. The new green space will have seating, lighting and landscaping and will feature a grand staircase leading up to the museum’s new second-story terrace. The plan posed a problem with the magnolia trees, complicated by their old age…

Sussex, New Brunswick, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, November 16, 2020: Woodlot owners say N.B. pricing system keeps them from cashing in on high lumber demand

About 7,000 vehicles a day pass the billboard on New Brunswick Route 1 at Sussex. ‘We’re buying wood!’, it announces, with a link to the J.D. Irving Ltd. website and a phone number: 855-WOODLOT. In the background stands the JDI sawmill, with long rows of stacked logs. Dialling that number is one of a handful of ways woodlot owners can get their timber to the province’s biggest buyer. If you sign a contract with the company, you can collect $64.25 a metric tonne for spruce studwood logs used to make two-by-fours. It’s a rate that is maddeningly low for those woodlot owners who are selling logs. And it hasn’t budged despite booming lumber sales in North America this year. These private wood sellers see the price as a symptom of a broken system, where some are quietly paid more for their logs, and an abundance of trees available to mills from Crown land prevents the majority from cashing in when times are good. About 40 minutes to the west of Sussex, at his family farm in Shannon, one of those private growers, Bruce Colpitts, recalls some wisdom shared 20 years ago by his wife’s grandfather, Lawrence McCrea. “He said, ‘Look after the land and the land will look after you,'” said Colpitts. “Well, 20 years ago the price of studwood was about $80 a tonne. Today that exact same product purchased here is $65 a tonne…

Boston, Massachusetts, WCVB-TV, November 12, 2020: Nova Scotia selects Christmas tree for annual gift to Boston, traditions adjusted for COVID-19

A 45-foot white spruce from Nova Scotia was selected for the province’s annual gift to the city of Boston. The tree is an annual gift to show appreciation for Boston’s help after the Halifax Explosion in 1917. Additionally, Nova Scotia officials said this year’s tree was dedicated to health care workers who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also because of the pandemic, Nova Scotia officials said there will be no public events for the tree, which is typically honored in a series of parades before setting out for the journey to Boston Common. This year’s tree was donated by Heather and Tony Sampson from Dundee, a community in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. “My stepfather’s mother was adopted from Boston when she was two,” Tony Sampson said. “The tree comes from our property, which was passed down through the family. We’ve watched it grow for many years. It has quite a bit of meaning to me and my family to send Nova Scotia’s gift to the people of Boston.” This will be the 49th year that Nova Scotia has shown its thanks to the city of Boston by gifting a Christmas tree…

Science, November 12, 2020: Can an ambitious breeding effort save North America’s ash trees?

On a weekday morning in August, just one pickup truck sat in the sprawling visitors’ parking lot at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Delaware, Ohio. A decades-long decline in research funding had been slowly quieting the place—and then came the pandemic. But in a narrow strip of grass behind a homely, 1960s-era building, forest geneticist Jennifer Koch was overseeing a hive of activity. A team of seven technicians, researchers, and students—each masked and under their own blue pop-up tent—were systematically dissecting 3-meter-tall ash trees in a strange sort of arboreal disassembly line. Over 5 weeks, the researchers would take apart some 400 saplings, peeling wood back layer by layer in search of the maggotlike larvae of the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), the most devastating insect ever to strike a North American tree. Since the Asian beetle was first discovered in Michigan in 2002, it has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees across half the continent and caused tens of billions of dollars of damage. “We have contests for who can successfully pull out the smallest larvae and the biggest larvae,” Koch says. “People get pretty excited and competitive about it. You have to do something, because it is very tedious—and [the larvae] are really gross.” The larvae kill ash trees by burrowing into them to feed on bark and, fatally, the thin, pipelike tissues that transport water and nutrients. They then transform into iridescent green beetles about the size of a grain of rice that fly off to attack other trees. Dead larvae excite Koch and her team the most. Those finds signal trees that, through genetic luck, can kill emerald ash borers, rather than the other way around. Such rare resistant trees could ultimately help Koch achieve her ambitious goal: using time-tested plant-breeding techniques to create ash varieties that can fend off the borer and reclaim their historic place in North American forests…

New York City, Post, November 12, 2020: Police stumped by theft of rare tree in Wisconsin capital

Police are stumped by the theft of a rare pine tree from the University of Wisconsin Arboretum. The 25-foot Algonquin Pillar Swiss Mountain pine was sawed down sometime between Nov. 5 and Nov. 9, University of Wisconsin-Madison police said Thursday. The stolen tree was about 30 yards from a street that runs through the arboretum, which is a popular spot for walkers, joggers, bicyclists and nature lovers. The tree was planted in 1988, and a twin tree next to it was left unharmed. However, a company white fir located nearby that was planted in 1981 had a 12-foot section cut from its top, police said. That was left behind. Arboretum staff estimated the cost of the stolen and damaged trees to be at least $13,000, police said…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, November 12, 2020: North Charleston issues stop work order after trees removed without permit

The city issued a stop work order this week after a developer removed a handful of trees without a permit. Residents contacted the city’s Planning and Zoning Department on Tuesday after noticing trees being cut down near Holy Cow Burgers and Brew on McCarthy Street, city spokesman Ryan Johnson said. Six elm trees were taken away as part of plans to add new parking spaces at the restaurant, which is located near the Link Mixson Apartments, just outside the Park Circle community. That neighborhood contains a mix of apartments, houses, restaurants and recreational parks. The trees removed were 5 inches in diameter, which falls within the city’s guidelines for allowable tree removal, Johnson said. But the developer, Stanley Martin Homes, didn’t apply for the permit needed prior to taking down trees. “They kind of jumped the gun,” Johnson said…

New York City, WNBC-TV. November 11, 2020: Behold! Your 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Is Revealed

It’s showtime for a small town tree soon to make its home at Rockefeller Center for the 2020 holiday season. This year’s tree, a 75-foot-tall, 11-ton Norway Spruce will be cut down Thursday from a residence in the town of Oneonta and carted to New York City for what is sure to be an unusual winter. Donated by Daddy Al’s General Store, it will arrive in Manhattan by flatbed Saturday to be prepped for its illuminating global debut. There will be no public access to the tree arrival at Rock Center this year amid the pandemic, but details about how to visit it will be announced in the coming days. It’s estimated that more than 125 million people visit Rockefeller Center during the holiday season. But with tourism stalled amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s unlikely the usual holiday frenzy will appear this year. Typical holiday staples, like Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, featuring the high-kicking Rockettes, have been canceled while Bryant Park’s Winter Village implemented new safety protocols to open last month. It’s estimated that more than 125 million people visit Rockefeller Center during the holiday season. But with tourism stalled amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s unlikely the usual holiday frenzy will appear this year. Typical holiday staples, like Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, featuring the high-kicking Rockettes, have been canceled while Bryant Park’s Winter Village implemented new safety protocols to open last month…

Sacramento, California, Bee, November 11, 2020: California man accuses ‘bully’ neighbors of Trump sign theft, seeks restraining order

Days after a contentious presidential election, a Northern California man filed for restraining orders against neighbors whom he alleges stole a Trump sign from his front lawn, chanted outside his house, wrote chalk messages intended to mock him and otherwise harassed him and his family in a politically charged quarrel. In civil petitions filed to the Placer Superior Court on Monday, Rocklin resident Michael Mason accused neighbors living on or near his street of various behavior he says constitutes harassment, with alleged exchanges spanning the past few months and intensifying during election week. The court denied granting the temporary restraining order, pending a hearing that has been scheduled for late November. Mason wrote in court documents that two neighbors in particular, named as the primary respondents in the filings, either harassed or “sent their children” to his house to harass him, his wife and their two children, ages 13 and 9…

West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources, November 11, 2020: The Tree Next Door

I hear this complaint or issue more frequently, “what can I do about the neighbor’s tree?” or “my neighbor just butchered my tree!”. Often, we see issues with a neighboring tree that may threaten safety or appears to be an elevated risk. For example, from the view of your window, you see your neighbor’s tree dropping dead branches all over your driveway. Or, you can’t see a favorable view at all because of that tree or unruly hedge. Or you are certain that the neighbor’s tree will eventually fall onto your garage. Before you take any action, establish ownership of the tree, and find out if you have rights to work on the offending vegetation. Otherwise, it can land you into a contentious legal situation. Some questions to consider include: When tree limbs or even the trunk of the tree crosses property line, are you within your rights to prune or remove it? Boundary laws vary with every state. Often the boundary lines are uncertain or assumed based on local information. However, in contentious situations that may result in major modifications to a tree, it is advised to get a survey to establish exactly who owns the tree. Rights are determined by who owns the tree. Check with your town, city, county and state municipalities for regulations about trees and property lines. The rights and responsibility for care and maintenance of trees are assigned to its owner, and ownership is determined by the location of the tree’s trunk. If the trunk is located entirely on the neighbor’s land even if its limbs or branches overhang onto your land, the neighbor is the tree’s owner. The neighbor has the sole right to preserve the tree or cut it down. This is true regardless of the neighbor’s motivation or the impact the tree removal would have on your land…

Science Daily, November 11, 2020: Chemical clues in leaves can reveal ash tree resistance to deadly disease

Naturally occurring compounds in ash leaves could be linked to susceptibility of individual trees to the fungal disease ash dieback (ADB). But selecting trees with lower levels of these compounds and breeding for resistance could leave the UK ash tree population open to attack from invading insect pests in the future, according to scientists at the University of Warwick. Secoiridoid glycosides are naturally occurring compounds found in plant leaves. Researchers from Warwick’s School of Life Sciences and Department of Chemistry and the School of Biosciences at the University of Exeter looked at the abundance and diversity of secoiridoid glycosides in the leaves of a panel of ash trees known to be resistant and samples from trees known to be susceptible to ADB from both Denmark and the UK. Previous research had identified five compounds in the secoiridoid glycoside family that were enriched in susceptible Danish trees, but results published today in Nature Scientific Reports,show UK ash tree leaves produced 27 different individually identifiable chemicals in the group. In the paper entitled Diversity of secoiridoid glycosides in leaves of UK and Danish ash provide new insight for ash dieback management, researchers have identified particular secoiridoid glycoside compounds that could potentially be used as biomarkers for tolerance or susceptibly to ADB…

Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard Crimson, November 9, 2020: Harvard Forest Researchers Identify Maple Trees as Possible Foundation Species

Scientists from the Harvard Forest and the Wuhan Botanical Garden have identified several species of maple trees as potential foundation species in Chinese and North American forests, according to a study published in the journal Ecology in late October. Foundation species play a disproportionately large role in shaping and maintaining their ecosystems, as well as in increasing local species diversity. These include ecosystems like coral reefs, oyster beds, and redwood forests. The study used data from 12 large forest plots in China spanning 26 degrees of latitude and ranging from cold temperate to subtropical and tropical climates. “That’s the only place in the world where you have that kind of gradient,” said Aaron M. Ellison, deputy director of the Harvard Forest and co-author of the study. Using that data, the group successfully confirmed their hypothesis that foundation tree species are more common in mid-latitude temperate forests like those of North America than in more extreme tropical climates…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, November 8, 2020: ‘High-risk rescue’ frees trapped tree worker in Fairfield

A “high-risk rescue” that took about an hour freed a tree worker whose leg was pinned by a fallen limb Saturday afternoon, the fire department said. The tree company was working on Beacon View Drive around 2 p.m. Saturday when a branch suddenly dropped as one of the workers was removing a large limb from an adjacent tree, the fire department said. The worker’s leg was pinned between the fallen limb and the tree, the fire department said. A second worker climbed the tree to help his co-worker, but was unable to reach the injured man. Fairfield firefighters said the worker was trapped in a high, difficult-to-reach location complicated by branches other debris blocking access for rescuers. The worker who attempted to rescue the man was plucked from the tree by Fairfield firefighters, who called the Bridgeport Fire Department to assist, due to the height of the tree and difficulty reaching the injured man. Fairfield firefighters used chainsaws to clear branches and access the tree, according to Assistant Fire Chief George Gomola. Once the base of the tree was cleared, they used portable ground ladders to gain access to the victim. Fairfield firefighters Frank Zwierlein and Rich Bassett, who had recently attended a tree rescue class, constructed a special haul system they used to lift the heavy branch that trapped the man’s leg, secured a rescue harness to the man and belayed him to the ground…

New York City, The New York Times, November 8, 2020: A Famed Fig Tree’s Days Are Numbered as a New Highway Plows Through

The fig tree, four stories high and almost a century old, its arched branches forming a giant canopy, has served as a landmark for generations of Kenyans in the bustling commercial neighborhood of Westlands in the capital, Nairobi. “Not all trees have the same status,” said Peter Kiarie Njoroge, an elder in the Kikuyu tribe, which regards fig trees as the “house of God,” and the abode of their ancestors. This one, he said, craning his neck to peer up at the giant leaves, is “like a guard post.” But the famed tree’s days are numbered. It is standing in the path of a four-lane, 17-mile highway now being built through the city of Nairobi. Government authorities say they will take it down — and though they have promised to relocate and transplant it, experts say that may be impossible for such a hulking specimen. Construction vehicles were already stationed nearby on a recent afternoon, and workers said they were preparing to get started any day. This tree has now become the most visible symbol of growing public opposition to the massive new highway — the Nairobi Expressway — for reasons ranging from environmental to economic to aesthetic. Some Kenyans have been outraged that the highway builders have already mowed down dozens of trees along the route, and might cut through Uhuru Park — an iconic downtown swath of green. Others oppose the project because they say it will put Kenya into even deeper debt to China, which is building the project at a cost of about $550 million, which taxpayers will be responsible for paying back, one way or another…

National Aeronautics and Space Administration, November 8, 2020: Satellite Tree Enumeration Outside of Forests at the 50-Centimeter Scale

Only 50% of the Earth’s total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels and deforestation accumulate in our atmosphere; of the other half, 20% is absorbed into the oceans, and 30% goes somewhere on land. We haven’t a clue where on land this CO2 from the atmosphere is extracted by vegetation via photosynthesis and stored in plant tissue as carbon compounds or as soil carbon. Understanding carbon storage on land is critical for fully understanding the impacts of CO2 on global warming; we need to ascertain where this carbon is stored and what are the mechanisms that control this biotic carbon storage. Our current understanding of the land carbon sink—where carbon is stored—is based on numerical simulation models that run at grid cells sizes of 50 x 50 kilometers (km) or larger. These simulations indicate that a large proportion of the land carbon sink occurs in Earth’s semi-arid regions. Our team has undertaken research to quantitatively determine the carbon sequestered in trees within a large semi-arid area stretching from the Sahara Desert southward to the humid sub-tropics in West Africa. The first step is to map individual trees, which are important because of carbon residence time in wood. To date, no one has successfully mapped individual trees with satellite data in semi-arid areas…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2020: Is That the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Theme? Might Be Bill Gross Annoying his Neighbor

Disputes in affluent neighborhoods over ocean views, noise and aesthetics are about as old as the sea—or at least a 1960s TV sitcom about castaways on an uncharted desert isle. This one stars a billionaire, his partner, too, a high-tech guy and his wife. In late July, the co-founder of bond giant Pacific Investment Management Co., Bill Gross, and his partner Amy Schwartz began repeatedly playing the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island” loud enough to annoy their neighbor, tech entrepreneur Mark Towfiq and his wife, according to a lawsuit Mr. Towfiq filed. Mr. Towfiq said relations with his neighbors hit the rocks after he filed a complaint with the city over an illuminated 22-foot-long art installation in Mr. Gross’s yard. It was erected without a permit, Mr. Towfiq said, and partially blocked Mr. Towfiq’s ocean view. Mr. Towfiq and his wife, Carol Nakahara, accused Mr. Gross in their suit of “harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress” for the sitcom serenade and other episodes of alleged retaliation. As the TV theme song played, “Gross and Schwartz began dancing on their balcony facing our property and made gestures apparently to taunt us,” said Mr. Towfiq in his application for a temporary restraining order…

Phys.org, November 9, 2020: Scientists unravel how and why Amazon trees die

The capacity of the Amazon forest to store carbon in a changing climate will ultimately be determined by how fast trees die—and what kills them. Now, a huge new study has unraveled what factors control tree mortality rates in Amazon forests and helps to explain why tree mortality is increasing across the Amazon basin. This large analysis found that the mean growth rate of the tree species is the main risk factor behind Amazon tree death, with faster-growing trees dying off at a younger age. These findings have important consequences for our understanding of the future of these forests. Climate change tends to select fast-growing species. If the forests selected by climate change are more likely die younger, they will also store less carbon. The study, co-led by the Universities of Birmingham and Leeds in collaboration with more than 100 scientists, is the first large scale analysis of the causes of tree death in the Amazon and uses long-term records gathered by the international RAINFOR network. The results published in Nature Communications, show that species-level growth rates are a key risk factor for tree mortality…

Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard Crimson, November 7, 2020: A Class Called “Tree”

Professor William N. Friedman wants to help students establish a relationship with “the other.” He defines “the other” as “the biological world that’s not human” — beings that, although alive, might not reciprocate actions or emotions. Friedman helps students interact with “the other” in his freshman seminar, “Tree.” In the seminar, each student is assigned a tree in the Cambridge area; students visit their trees once a week. How did an arboreal course come to be? After eight years of teaching a seminar on Charles Darwin, Friedman wanted to do something different. His new seminar is unusual among Harvard’s entire catalogue. For Friedman, developing “Tree” was natural as, well, trees. He directs the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard’s museum of trees. Arnold Arboretum is a 281 acre plot that contains trees from all over the world — over 15,000 plant species in all. Friedman described the arbor as “the best campus at Harvard.” His class arose from a desire to show more students the Arnold Arboretum, and to demonstrate that trees are a plentiful resource at Harvard. “So, to your question ‘Why ‘Tree’?’ Trees are what I have,” Friedman says…

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, The Oklahoman, November 7, 2020: Laughlin: Leaves make trees especially vulnerable to ice

The early ice storm was particularly damaging since many of the deciduous trees still had leaves on them, causing more weight and, therefore, more damage. We live in an ice damage zone, and in Oklahoma, ice storms occur almost annually. While all trees can suffer damage, elms, poplars, maples, birches, willows and Bradford pears are easily damaged by ice and windstorms. In addition, older trees may suffer from internal rot that is not evident from the exterior until ice brings them down. This is common on our older native oaks. Be careful working near or under any damaged tree, and approach and inspect damaged trees only if it is safe to do so. Safety should be your priority. Notice branches that may fall without warning since they can result in serious injury. Do not go near any tree close to power lines. Many damaged trees can be saved with appropriate treatment. If damaged trees do not present a threat to people or property, you could wait until the growing season before deciding if you should take them out…

St. Louis, Missouri, Public Radio, November 2, 2020: Why Some St. Louis Trees Have Yet To Change Colors During This ‘Wonky’ Fall

This year’s fall foliage looks a bit different from that of past years. Among the golden, warm-toned hues sprucing up the St. Louis region is a noticeable number of green leaves. That’s because this fall season has been “kind of wonky,” Daria McKelvey said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. She’s a supervisor at the Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden. “We didn’t have much rain (in October) and a lot of trees, unfortunately, by the time that they got around to that fall color time, they started dropping their leaves quite a bit,” she explained. “[They] just didn’t have enough moisture to pull them through. And so we didn’t get to see as much of that fall color that we kind of expect, normally.” McKelvey added that recent warm weather hasn’t provided the right conditions for leaves to transition colors properly. Trees in the area already hit their most vibrant peak, but some are still holding out, such as the ginkgo trees. Commonly called maidenhair trees, they would have usually turned a uniform golden yellow by mid-October. “They haven’t changed yet. They’re starting to show some yellow color, but I’m not sure if they’re going to actually drop their leaves all of a sudden, or even have the opportunity to golden up,” McKelvey said. “So I’m still waiting on that. We’ll just have to see how the temperatures play out…”

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, The Oklahoman, November 2, 2020: With trees damaged across Oklahoma City, cleanup will take months

Oklahoma City Parks Director Doug Kupper says recovering from last week’s ice storm will be a “monumental” task taking months to complete. An estimated 90% of the tree canopy in Oklahoma City’s 175 parks is damaged, with perhaps thousands of trees beyond saving. Words like “decimated” were common to describe the damage as ice coated trees still heavy with summer leaves. Maureen Heffernan, executive director of the Myriad Botanical Gardens and Scissortail Park foundations, said Myriad Gardens’ trees were heavily damaged by the ice. Much younger trees in the upper section of Scissortail Park, planted barely a year ago, fared much better, she said, as did the park’s Survivor Tree clone. A tree inventory completed four years ago could help parks recover. The project produced data on 19,632 trees in 134 city parks. Arborists documented 185 species, finding most trees to be in good or fair condition. Data includes location of each tree, size, species, estimated age, canopy and trunk health, and reports of disease or past damage from ice storms and tornadoes…

Sacramento, California, KCRA-TV, October 30, 2020: Arrests made in Nevada City as PG&E works to remove trees

Three people were arrested Friday after refusing to move away from trees that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has marked for removal, police said. The utility said it needs to remove the trees as a safety measure to prevent fires. Police and PG&E showed up around 4 a.m. to where people have been sitting in the trees. When officers arrived, they found people sleeping in that area in protest of the planned tree removal. When a PG&E-contracted company and police said they were going to start securing the land to put up fencing, those people started leaving. As this was happening, however, more people opposing the tree-cutting showed up and refused to leave the land. Three people were arrested on misdemeanor trespassing charges and released, according to police. As of mid-morning Friday, there was still one person in one of the trees. Police said they have been talking to him for hours but don’t know how long it will take to get him to come down…

Monticello, Illinois, Journal-Republican, October 31, 2020: Trees can boost property curb appeal

New homeowners often wonder about the value of planting shade trees when they first move in when there are so many more areas to focus on with a new home. “Planting shade trees is an investment for the future just like other home upgrades,” says Richard Hentschel, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. “A smaller, young tree will be cost effective and will increase in value along with your home as well as providing indirect benefits.” Trees can be planted throughout the year, depending on how they were grown. Fall and spring are prime times homeowners can consider a planting project to provide the extra care and time needed during transplant recovery. Environmentally, there are several positives that come from having shade trees in the home landscape. The recent devastation caused by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer has taught developers the need for shade tree diversity. A single tree species and its cultivars should make up no more than 20% of the urban forest in order to survive stressful environmental conditions such as repeated droughts and severe winter conditions. “Younger trees tolerate these conditions better than older trees, so new trees need to be continually planted,” Hentschel says…

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, KDKA-TV, October 31, 2020: More Acorns Falling From Trees This Year

This fall, you may have noticed that acorns have been falling by the bucket load. Some people look to what nature is doing now, to try to figure out what the weather will be in the future, so are these abundant acorns acting like crystal balls to look into the upcoming winter? The answer is “no”. What you’re seeing with trees now is more of an indication of what happened to the tree in the past. The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says red oak acorns take 2 years to develop, so this year’s abundant acorn drop has more to do with optimal conditions last year, which was a good pollination year with no late freeze. My wife’s cousin, David Nilsen, is an arborist. He tells me trees can communicate with each other, too. Not like texting or chatting online, though. They communicate through chemistry. These chemicals are released in the air and in their root systems, and the trees can tell the other trees to produce a big acorn crop. David says it is their way of making sure the ecosystem is healthy. This is important for several types of animals — and larva. As gross sounding as larva is, the different types of larva that eat acorns are a major component of the diet of baby birds in the Spring…

Wired.com, October 31, 2020: Is It Better to Plant Trees or Let Forests Regrow Naturally?

When Susan Cook-Patton was doing a postdoc in forest restoration at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland seven years ago, she says, she helped plant 20,000 trees along Chesapeake Bay. It was a salutary lesson. “The ones that grew best were mostly ones we didn’t plant,” she remembers. “They just grew naturally on the ground we had set aside for planting. Lots popped up all around. It was a good reminder that nature knows what it is doing.” What is true for Chesapeake Bay is probably true in many other places, says Cook-Patton, now at the Nature Conservancy. Sometimes, we just need to give nature room to grow back naturally. Her conclusion follows a new global study that finds the potential for natural forest regrowth to absorb atmospheric carbon and fight climate change has been seriously underestimated. Tree planting is all the rage right now. This year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, called for the world to plant a trillion trees. In one of its few actions to address climate concerns, the US administration—with support from businesses and nonprofits such as American Forests—last month promised to contribute close to a billion of them—855 million, to be precise—across an estimated 2.8 million acres…

Washington, DC, Post, October 28, 2020: Trump to strip protections from Tongass National Forest, one of the biggest intact temperate rainforests

President Trump will open up more than half of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to logging and other forms of development, according to a notice posted Wednesday, stripping protections that had safeguarded one of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforests for nearly two decades. As of Thursday, it will be legal for logging companies to build roads and cut and remove timber throughout more than 9.3 million acres of forest — featuring old-growth stands of red and yellow cedar, Sitka spruce and Western hemlock. The relatively pristine expanse is also home to plentiful salmon runs and imposing fjords. The decision, which will be published in the Federal Register, reverses protections President Bill Clinton put in place in 2001 and is one of the most sweeping public lands rollbacks Trump has enacted. The new rule states that it will make “an additional 188,000 forested acres available for timber harvest,” mainly “old growth timber.” For years, federal and academic scientists have identified Tongass as an ecological oasis that serves as a massive carbon sink while providing key habitat for wild Pacific salmon and trout, Sitka black-tailed deer and myriad other species. It boasts the highest density of brown bears in North America, and its trees — some of which are between 300 and 1,000 years old — absorb at least 8 percent of all the carbon stored in the entire Lower 48′s forests combined…

New Orleans, WWL-TV, October 29, 2020: ‘It’s worth the wait’ | Fallen trees, roof repair can be extremely dangerous

You may remember sadly in Hurricane Laura in Southwest Louisiana there were people, even a teen girl, who lost their lives because of fallen trees. And around the New Orleans metro area today, the number one cause of damage in the aftermath of Zeta was fallen trees, then roof damage. It was 8 o’clock Wednesday night. Three roommates in Old Metairie were riding out Hurricane Zeta. Then something happened. “I was just watching movies right in my room and it was big ole crash and I knew instantaneously,” Joel Allen said. Part of a water oak crushed the house. With rain pouring in, they moved the furniture and did something risky, put a tarp on the roof. “I could feel the roof move under my feet, so I just had to be really careful and it was really windy and raining of course, but yeah it was scary,” said Bryce Ballina, one of Allen’s roommates. Louisiana Tree Company said the phone started ringing at 1 a.m. and has not stopped. “We’re slammed right now,” said Rob Meyer, an arborist with Louisiana Tree Company. “It’s worth the wait. Just wait. Don’t do it yourself because you know that’s the highest fatality around. A lot of homeowners want to get on a ladder and do it themselves. That’s when insurance policies kick in for the wife That’s why they have certain things called widow makers in trees…”

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2020: Brazil Wanted to Harvest the Amazon Responsibly. Illicit Loggers Axed the Plan.

The Amata SA logging company was supposed to represent an answer to the thorny problem of how countries like Brazil can take advantage of the Amazon rainforest without widespread deforestation. But after spending tens of millions of dollars since 2010 to run a 178-square-mile concession in the rainforest to produce timber sustainably, Amata pulled out in April. The reason: uncontrolled wildcat loggers who invaded Amata’s land, illegally toppling and stealing trees. The Brazilian government of President Jair Bolsonaro had championed such concessions and plans to expand them, arguing that legal logging discourages destructive illegal logging and provides jobs for some of the millions of poor residents of towns on the jungle’s edge. Instead of clear-cutting areas, Amata felled an average of only one tree per acre so the forest could regrow. Illegal logging, instead, opens the path for permanent deforestation, a major risk for global climate. The vast rainforest’s trees soak up and store much of the carbon emissions released around the globe, making it a critical natural brake on climate change, scientists say. But the company’s executives in São Paulo said that instead of promoting and protecting legal businesses, Mr. Bolsonaro’s administration did next to nothing to control the illegal loggers who invaded the concession in the western state of Rondônia…

Agrilife Today, October 29, 2020: How to plant shade trees in Texas

In Texas, late-fall and early winter is the perfect time to plant shade trees. Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offer some expert advice to help you get your sapling out of the container, into the ground and off to a good start. Eric Taylor, Ph.D., a Texas A&M Forest Service silviculturist and AgriLife Extension forestry specialist, Overton, said these recommendations will go a long way to improve transplant survivability and performance. “Planting shade trees is pretty simple,” Taylor said. “But there are certainly science-based tips that can get them off to a good start and improve the overall development of your transplanted tree.” Taylor said trees in containers or burlap bags can be planted at any time throughout the year if they are properly cared for. But the best time to plant deciduous trees is when they are dormant – late-fall to early spring. He prefers planting in the fall as soon as there is sufficient soil moisture. “I say early fall because roots are often actively growing during the winter months and that will help the tree get acclimated to the location,” he said. “That potential for a few more months of root growth can help. The larger the root system, the better off that tree will be in the summer…”

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, October 29, 2020: Beware of zombies lurking in your yard, says Houston tree expert

They stand among us — trees that look alive but are actually undead. “Zombie trees” is the name given to trees that appear healthy, and may even have flowers and green canopies, but are actually weakened and dying. “They are trees that are dead and do not know it yet,” said arborist Matt Petty from Davey Tree. “They are in decline and have crippling health or safety issues. An arborist would be able to do a detailed evaluation and notice areas of concern.” Rendered hollow by internal decay, these trees may come crashing down at any moment. They pose an especially great danger during hurricane season. “An arborist would be able to determine if a tree can be preserved and strengthened or needed to be removed,” Petty said. Trees that are “in decline” may or may not be saved. “Zombie trees” are the ones that are beyond recovery. Petty attributed the expression to the popularity of zombie movies and shows. “From a distance you see a zombie and you think it’s a person,” he said. “But as you get closer, you realize it’s something very dangerous…”

Tulsa, Oklahoma, World, October 28, 2020: What you can do about your damaged trees

Trees throughout the metro area look like they were hit by a tornado, but residents are being urged to be patient and not assume all is lost. Mark Bays, Urban and Community Forestry coordinator with Oklahoma Forestry Services, was part of a small crew propping up branches and clearing ice off of the iconic Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial on Tuesday. The tree will be fine, he said, and so will many trees throughout the metro area if residents are careful in who they hire to address damage caused by ice. “We will have tree care companies flooding into neighborhoods and offering special deals, and people can be talked into doing too much that is not necessary,” he said. “Or the work that is done can cause future problems that can multiply in time…”

Mongabay, October 28, 2020: American Forests CEO Jad Daley: ‘We are one nation under trees’

In the decade following the end of the U.S. Civil War, a group of people led by physician and horticulturist John Aston Warder established the American Forestry Association to create a constituency for protecting the country’s fast-disappearing forests. The group advocated for better stewardship of forests, including the creation of forest reserves to maintain timber stocks, wildlife habitat, watersheds, and recreational areas. In the near century-and-a-half since its founding, American Forests, as the institution is now known, has at times had to navigate periods of tumult. Rampant destruction of forests led it to organize the first American Forest Congress and the first annual National Arbor Day to build support for the concept of forest conservation. The economic hardship wrought by the Great Depression prompted it to push for the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Timber stock depletion due to the Second World War moved American Forests to call for a national forest management strategy. Increased incidence and severity of forest fires this decade spurred the group to build a coalition to secure resources for preventing wildfires. Today Americans face a deluge of challenges, from political polarization to protests over social injustice to the economic pain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the growing impact of unchecked climate change. It seems like a particularly bleak moment for the country, but American Forests president and CEO Jad Daley says he believes that forests can again be part of the solutions to some of our biggest problems…

St. Louis, Missouri, Post-Dispatch, October 28, 2020: EPA awards funding to north St. Louis County effort to reduce asthma, air quality problems with urban trees

An organization focused on air quality issues in north St. Louis County was named Wednesday as a recipient of $120,000 in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. Beyond Housing Inc. will receive the money over two years from the EPA’s Environmental Justice Office to help educate local leaders and community members about ties between air quality, the urban tree canopy and asthma, according to the agency. Beyond Housing’s 24:1 Clear the Air project will conduct an assessment in north St. Louis County’s low-income, minority communities to identify “opportunities for tree canopy improvements,” Wednesday’s announcement said. Among the listed goals of the project are to boost urban canopy coverage, change policies to improve canopy maintenance and reduce hospital visits related to asthma…

Palm Springs, California, Desert Sun, October 27, 2020: Trade groups sue California to stop western Joshua tree’s threatened species listing

A month after the California Fish and Game Commission voted to make western Joshua trees a candidate for listing as a threatened species, several trade groups and a high desert town are suing to block the protections granted to the Mojave Desert’s iconic plant. In September, the commission acted on the recommendation of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, giving the species — one of two Joshua tree varieties — legal protection for the next year while the state studies its viability. On Oct. 21, the California Construction and Industrial Materials Association, known as CalCIMA, and others brought the lawsuit in a state court in Fresno County, the trade group announced Monday. The commission’s September decision was a major win for conservationists, as it marked the first time the California Endangered Species Act was used to shield a species threatened mainly by climate change. The last five years have been the five hottest in recorded human history, according to government scientists, and local researchers predict that rising temperatures could wipe out Joshua trees from wide swathes of Southern California by the end of the century…

Tulsa, Oklahoma, World, October 27, 2020: Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial damaged in ice storm

A “worst nightmare” of an autumn ice storm wrecking trees and power lines across the metro left more than 200,000 without power Tuesday.
Tree branches littered streets while others were uprooted altogether. The iconic Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial was among those damaged but is expected to survive. “We lost a pretty good branch,” memorial director Kari Watkins said. “But the tree is still pretty good. We’ve been beating it all morning.The branch that fell we knew was damaged. And it’s so full of leaves that with the ice it becomes too heavy.” Crews spent the morning propping up branches and shaking off ice from the Survivor Tree, which along with the Gates of Time is among the most photographed images from Oklahoma City. The tree, an American Elm, was across from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and yet withstood the bomb blast that destroyed the building and resulted in the deaths of 168 people…

Phys.org, October 27, 2020: Water consumption for trees is calculated in order to design precision irrigation systems

In 1995, the severe drought that devastated Spain left some farms using irrigation agriculture without water supplies. Though it has not happened again since, climate change increases the chance of this threat. For farmers growing annual crops, an occurrence such as this one would mean losing a year’s work but those who have groves of trees risk losing not only their year’s production, but their long-term investment as well. A research team from the University of Cordoba and the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the Spanish National Research Council in Cordoba has been working for years on several projects to improve water management and maximize the productivity of tree crops such as olives, almonds and citrus fruits. One of their lines of research is based on the fact that when there is a water shortage, trees transpire less, get warmer, and end up producing less. In their latest research project, they studied how an indicator called Crop Water Stress Index (abbreviated to CWSI), based on detecting temperature increase in trees with water stress, is related to relative water consumption in an almond grove. Tree water consumption or transpiration is very difficult to measure whereas a tree’s temperature is easily taken using remote sensors, similar to those used on a daily basis during the pandemic to detect people with fevers. In their latest work, this group experimentally demonstrated for the first time that there is a relationship between relative transpiration and the CWSI in almond trees. So, farmers can find out at any moment if the trees are consuming water at 80-90% of their capacity, meaning within optimal levels, or if they have high levels of stress and urgently need to be supplied with more water…

Washington, D.C., Times, October 27, 2020: Drought may slow growth for red oak, white pine trees

Growth for trees such as red oak and white pine trees is likely to lag next year because of the severe drought, a University of New Hampshire researcher said. Heidi Asbjornsen with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station said both trees have very different ecological “strategies” for managing moisture stress that happens during a drought. She said white pines shut down water uptake and photosynthesis as moisture becomes more limiting. Red oak has deep roots and is a more tolerant species, but reduced growth could make the tree more susceptible to pathogens and disease, she said. UNH says this year’s drought is similar to the one the state experienced in 2016, occurring later in the season and affecting the southeast portion of the state to the greatest extent…

Portland, Maine, Press-Herald, October 26, 2020: Fearing infestation, state wants to locate ash trees sold at Lowe’s

State officials are trying to locate trees sold at Lowe’s stores this spring and summer that may contain emerald ash borers, an invasive insect that kills ash trees. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry said the ash trees were sold at Lowe’s stores in Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Brewer, Brunswick, Portland, Sanford, Scarborough, Thomaston and Windham. If a purchaser of a tree has not already been contacted by Lowe’s, the department said they should contact the state’s horticulture program at bugwatch@maine.gov or 207-287-7545, The trees came from an area that was infested with borers, state officials said. According to state officials, 36 of the trees, labeled as ash green, fraxinus pennsylvanica, were sold at Lowe’s stores for $29.98 each. State officials are encouraging residents to refrain from planting any ash or white fringe trees because of the emerald ash borer. The bug has become established in Maine and there are also infestations in Vermont, New Hampshire, New Brunswick and Quebec. Ornamental ash trees in areas with infestations require regular applications of insecticides to survive, DACF officials said. The emerald ash borer was first detected in Michigan in 2002 and has spread across 35 states through wood products, including firewood and trees sold for planting. Current emerald ash borer quarantine areas in Maine include all of York and Cumberland counties, parts of Oxford County, and the northeastern corner of Aroostook County…

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, KFOR-TV, October 26, 2020: Early-season ice storm especially tough on trees

Trees in Oklahoma still have their leaves- in a lot of cases they are still green- making a big problem for the trees, but also for your power. “Lots and lots of extra weight which is going to make the trees more susceptible to breakage,” said Josh Campbell, Agriculture Educator at OSU Extension OKC. Thanks to the storm, ice coating every surface of trees with the leaves still on them makes damage a strong possibility. “You’ve got green leaves still on this tree and so much surface area that wouldn’t normally be there if this tree had lost all its leaves. So much surface area for ice to cling to and cause that extra weight and stress on this tree,” said Campbell. Trees like Bradford Pears that are the usual candidates for breakage will likely be hit hard but Campbell says other species like elms will likely see damage when they normally wouldn’t in typical storms. “That’s going to be disastrous,” said Monty Marcum. The owner of Marcum’s Nursery says going out and shaking or beating on a small tree with a broom could help, but as for bigger trees… “Wish there was some way to avoid it, short of going out there and building the Astrodome over your yard. I don’t think you are going to get that done,” said Marcum…

Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times, October 26, 2020: Work begins on prime West Shore land in Tampa, then is shut down

The rattlesnakes were the tip-off. Just as the redevelopment of a prime tract on S West Shore Boulevard finally got underway this fall, the clearing of trees and dense overgrowth sent snakes slithering across the busy street and into nearby yards. City inspectors sent out to investigate quickly issued a “stop work” order and now the Isles at Old Tampa Bay is on hold. “We have city approved plans for our scope of work, but inadvertently did not secure the required permits to implement the approved plans,” said a statement from the developers, Tampa-based DeBartolo Development and Avanti Properties Group of Winter Park. “We are currently working with the city to acquire permits needed to continue work on the property.” But the unpermitted work has left a desolate landscape where irreplaceable grand oaks stood until a few weeks ago. “It’s really just a tragedy and it’s going to affect the entire region,” said Chelsea Johnson of the Tampa advocacy group Tree Something Say Something. “The way it was just clear cut was so irresponsible to neighbors and the city, there are coyotes and rattlesnakes running through South Tampa and people’s homes.” The 162-acre site, Johnson added, now looks like a field where “they are going to grow tobacco or corn … You and I won’t ever see those trees replenished, they were absolutely priceless…’

Greensboro, North Carolina, WFMY-TV, October 26, 2020: 2 Wants to Know helps Greensboro mother after massive tree falls on home

The house sits on a quiet street in a nice neighborhood in Greensboro. The two-story home has plenty of room for Vonnika Echols and her four kids. “Everything was good, we didn’t have any problems, it was great,” Echols said. The family has been renting the home for more than three years and recently renewed the lease to stay another year. On a recent morning, Echols was getting ready for work when someone knocked on the door. The man told Echols he was there to cut a tree down in the backyard. “I was like what, no one told me about this,” Echols said. The landlord had apparently decided to remove a giant tree in the yard that was next to the home. Echols and the kids left and went over to her mom’s house while the tree was being cut down. About an hour after they left one of the neighbors called. “He’s like, a tree fell on your house, I’m like what and then he shows me facetime video of it (the tree) on my house,” Echols said. The massive tree, that was probably at least 40 feet tall, crashed down on the roof of Echols home. The tree knocked holes in the rood, shattered windows, and left a massive mess inside. “My initial thoughts were, ‘Oh, my gosh we’re going to be homeless,’” Echols said…

Denver, Colorado, KCNC-TV, October 24, 2020: Wildfire Moves Into Rocky Mountain National Park: ‘Numerous’ Trees Down Near Trail Ridge Road

We are seeing a glimpse of the damage in Rocky Mountain National Park after the fire moved into the west side of the park. The entire park is closed. “On the west side of the park, resources were focused on continual life and safety priorities,” officials stated. “Numerous trees were down on the west side of Trail Ridge Road, north of the Green Mountain Trailhead, blocking that area as a means to evacuate on Wednesday night.” “As of [Thursday] night, the East Troublesome Fire had moved north of the Coyote Valley Trailhead,” officials said. The park says that some structures were damaged but they can’t get in to fully survey the damage yet. Earlier this week, the East Troublesome Fire crossed the continental divide. It’s now burning along the east and west sides of the park. “The weather has been very different on the west side of the park and the east side of the park,” said Rocky Mountain National Park Public Affairs Officer, Kyle Patterson. “We know that there’s going to be high winds forecast tonight and tomorrow. We know that right now the fuels are rather moist but they might dry up quickly…”

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, KGAN-TV, October 22, 2020: Linn Co. repurposing derecho tree debris through woodworkers, sales

Tree debris in Linn County is being repurposed in a joint effort between the sustainability program and the conservation department. The county is repurposing tree debris in three ways; mulching it, allowing woodworkers to salvage pieces and selling valuable pieces. Debris is being collected at the Linn County’s chipping site in Cedar Rapids at Mount Vernon Road SE between Squaw Creek Road and Dows Road SE. “We’re really trying to be innovative and not just throw this material out but find alternative uses for it,” said Daniel Gibbins, Linn County Conservation deputy director. “It really varies for every tree…and the highest bidder wins that. We need to get our forestry activities and the logging complete in the next year. The wood won’t sit there and be merchantable for long. After that, it’ll probably just turn into firewood.” The money will be used for the county’s conservation efforts…

Kansas City, Missouri, WDAF-TV, October 23, 2020: Famous burr oak in Boone County, Missouri, known as the ‘Big Tree,’ struck by lightning

A historic burr oak tree in central Missouri was struck by lightning, prompting an emergency response early Friday morning. Boone County Fire District got the call around 9:30 a.m. when people nearby heard the crack and saw smoke coming from the national landmark. Video shows black scarring on the massive tree trunk, which has a circumference of nearly 24-feet. White foam covered the base. Crews sprayed the tree when they arrived and found fire coming from within the trunk. The tree, known by many as simply, “Big Tree,” is the oldest burr oak tree in the state of Missouri. It’s also tied with another in Kentucky for the largest of its kind in the country, according to the National Park Service. The battalion chief said crews will monitor the tree for now. The tree did not lose any large limbs. “For nearly 400 years it has stood strong, withstanding storms, droughts, floods, vandalism and the progress of humankind. It’s the McBaine Burr Oak tree,” the NPS states…

Yahoo News, October 24, 2020: ‘Murder hornet’ nest vacuumed out of tree in Washington

A team of entomologists in full-body protective gear vacuumed Asian giant hornets out of a tree in Washington state on Saturday, eradicating the first nest of the so-called murder hornets found in the United States. The state’s agricultural department said it had spent weeks searching for and trapping the hornets, which attack honeybee hives and could pose a threat to humans, because they can sting repeatedly with venom that is stronger than a honeybee’s. The state’s entomologists succeeded by attaching radio trackers to three hornets they had trapped earlier in the week, one of which they followed to the nest, located in a tree near Blaine, Washington, on Thursday. They returned on Saturday to make the extraction. “Got ’em. Vacuumed out several #AsianGiantHornets from a tree cavity near Blaine this morning,” the agriculture department said on Twitter, adding that more details would be provided at a news conference on Monday. The stinging hornet, the world’s largest, can grow as large as 2-1/2 inches (6.4 cm) in length and is native to Southeast Asia, China and Taiwan. It was first discovered in the United States in December by a homeowner in Blaine…

Los Angeles, California, Times, October 20, 2020: $28 million to go to family of woman killed by falling tree at wedding in Whittier park

The family of a San Pedro woman who was killed by a falling tree at her daughter’s wedding nearly four years ago has reached a tentative $28-million settlement with the city of Whittier, according to court documents filed by the plaintiffs’ attorney. Margarita Mojarro, 61, was at Whittier’s Penn Park in December 2016 when a 70-foot blue gum eucalyptus fell onto the wedding party as they posed for pictures. Mojarro was killed, and several others were injured, including a 3-year-old girl who suffered irreparable brain damage. “There is no amount of money that can bring back family members or heal the damage that was done,” said Brian Leinbach, the plaintiffs’ attorney, “but they are pleased to put this tragic event behind them, and they feel good about that.” The lawsuit, filed in 2017, alleged that the city should have known about the danger of the tree, which the suit said was “negligently, carelessly, and recklessly maintained in dangerous character and condition attributable to advanced rot and decay.” The tree was over-watered and situated at a dangerous 20% grade, according to the suit, and the city both failed to remediate the threat or warn parkgoers of any danger. The case has been fiercely litigated for more than three years. The city initially maintained no fault in the accident, which it called “an unforeseeable Act of God,” and said that park managers had inspected the tree “three or four times” in the two years prior and found no cause for concern. The “failing” of the tree, which weighed several thousand pounds, followed several days of heavy rains that could have loosened the soil and unearthed its roots, arborists said at the time…

Baltimore, Maryland, WJZ-TV, October 22, 2020: Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Asking Property Owners To Plant Trees In Effort To Reduce Greenhouse Gases, Increase Tree Canopy

In an effort to reduce greenhouse gases and increase Baltimore County’s tree canopy, county executive Johnny Olszewski is calling on property owners to plant more trees. He says residents can request trees to be planted on their property for free, or they can do it themselves. Olszewski is also asking everyone to track the trees they plant [Video]…

Open Culture, October 23, 2020: Daisugi, the 600-Year-Old Japanese Technique of Growing Trees Out of Other Trees, Creating Perfectly Straight Lumber

We’ve all admired the elegance of Japan’s traditional styles of architecture. Their development required the kind of dedicated craftsmanship that takes generations to cultivate — but also, more practically speaking, no small amount of wood. By the 15th century, Japan already faced a shortage of seedlings, as well as land on which to properly cultivate the trees in the first place. Necessity being the mother of invention, this led to the creation of an ingenious solution: daisugi, the growing of additional trees, in effect, out of existing trees — creating, in other words, a kind of giant bonsai. “Written as 台杉 and literally meaning platform cedar, the technique resulted in a tree that resembled an open palm with multiple trees growing out if it, perfectly vertical,” writes Spoon and Tamago’s Johnny Waldman. “Done right, the technique can prevent deforestation and result in perfectly round and straight timber known as taruki, which are used in the roofs of Japanese teahouses.” These teahouses are still prominent in Kyoto, a city still known for its traditional cultural heritage, and not coincidentally where daisugi first developed. “It’s said that it was Kyoto’s preeminent tea master, Sen-no-rikyu, who demanded perfection in the Kitayama cedar during the 16th century,” writes My Modern Met’s Jessica Stewart…

Phys.org, October 22, 2020: Soil fungi act like a support network for trees, study shows

Being highly connected to a strong social network has its benefits. Now a new University of Alberta study is showing the same goes for trees, thanks to their underground neighbors. The study, published in the Journal of Ecology, is the first to show that the growth of adult trees is linked to their participation in fungal networks living in the forest soil. Though past research has focused on seedlings, these findings give new insight into the value of fungal networks to older trees—which are more environmentally beneficial for functions like capturing carbon and stabilizing soil erosion. “Large trees make up the bulk of the forest, so they drive what the forest is doing,” said researcher Joseph Birch, who led the study for his Ph.D. thesis in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences. When they colonize the roots of a tree, fungal networks act as a sort of highway, allowing water, nutrients and even the compounds that send defense signals against insect attacks to flow back and forth among the trees…

Ann Arbor, Michigan, News, October 21, 2020: Lawsuit over Ann Arbor utility rates ignites council debate about funding for trees

A lawsuit over Ann Arbor’s water and sewer rates and how the city is spending money from ratepayers has sparked debate among City Council members. The lawsuit, which claims the city owes utility customers tens of millions of dollars in refunds, in part calls into question the city’s use of stormwater funds for trees. Up for council approval Monday night, Oct. 19, was a $674,020 contract with the Davey Tree Expert Co. for routine pruning of trees along city streets, funded by stormwater fees. The city has for several years funded trees and their maintenance using stormwater fees paid by utility customers. The city maintains trees provide important stormwater management benefits, intercepting an estimated 65 million gallons of stormwater each year. Last month, council approved using $160,775 from stormwater fees to plant 500 trees…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, October 21, 2020: Councilman ‘alarmed’ after Lakewood removes 6 trees along Detroit Avenue

The removal last Thursday (Oct. 15) of a half-dozen sunburst locust trees from the south side of Detroit Avenue, between Lakeland and Westwood avenues, caused quite the social media outcry in Lakewood. “This is part of regular maintenance of our tree canopy,” Mayor Meghan George said. “Apparently, the prior administration had some sort of verbal agreement with LakewoodAlive that any removal of trees in a business district would be verbally communicated with them in advance.” The mayor said she and her administration were never notified about such a handshake agreement. She noted that the trees in question were safety hazards that required removal prior to a full sidewalk replacement project starting this fall. “Even with the prior agreement, at the end of the day, this is a safety issue,” George said. “The brick surrounding the trees were inches apart.” City Arborist and Tree Forestry Manager Dan Sullivan said the trees, which despite being trimmed by utility companies were in the overhead wires, had been a source of complaints to the building department by second-floor apartment tenants. Even if the sidewalk wasn’t being replaced, it was Sullivan’s recommendation that the trees be removed…

Norfolk, Virginia, Virginian Pilot, October 21, 2020: North Carolina’s champion persimmon tree is the center of attention at the Dismal Swamp State Park

A tall tree with a champion’s title stands on the western bank of the Dismal Swamp Canal. Way up high in the tree’s top, orange-colored persimmons grow. “They’re a little hard to see because it’s so tall,” said Katie Sandford, a ranger at the Dismal Swamp State Park in Camden County. The persimmon tree stands 98 feet tall, about 50 feet more than the typical height for the species. Its trunk measures 96 inches in circumference and the spread of its canopy is 52 feet. Those three measurements are the factors that led to the tree being labeled the champion persimmon tree in North Carolina. The tree is the center of attention this time of year for the park wildlife when persimmons ripen and become really sweet, earning the nickname of sugar plum. Its genus name of diospyros means fruit of the Gods. When the fruit falls to the ground, it’s like a banquet for opossums, raccoons, bears and birds. Sandford believed a raccoon must have feasted recently based on droppings found at the base of the tree Tuesday…

Vancouver, British Columbia, Sun, October 21, 2020: Company fined for cutting Kerrisdale tree with nesting nuthatches, killing chicks

A tree-pruning company has been fined after it cut branches off a tree at a Kerrisdale apartment building in the spring, disrupting a nest of red-breasted nuthatches and killing at least three chicks. Environment Canada announced the fine this week after months of investigation into the violation that was reported by a 12-year-old bird-lover who had been visiting the birds every day. Clay Zhou-Radies was shocked when on one of his visits in May he found the nest and the nuthatches and a couple of northern flickers gone. He reported the incident to Environment Canada, and officers investigated under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. “During the course of this inspection, carcasses of migratory bird chicks (nuthatches) were collected by officers,” said spokeswoman Veronica Petro in an email. She said Environment Canada doesn’t reveal the identity of those issued violation notices or the amount of the fine…

Sacramento, California, Bee, October 20, 2020: Court monitor slams PG&E for falling behind on wildfire tree trimming across California

PG&E Corp. is still missing dangerous trees in its quest to keep limbs from crashing into power lines and igniting major wildfires, a court-appointed investigator has found. Mark Filip, a Chicago lawyer who is the court-appointed monitor in the utility’s criminal probation, reported this week that the utility’s “enhanced vegetation management” program appeared to backslide this year after making strides in late 2019. “Although there were meaningful improvements within 2019, that improvement appears to have, at best, plateaued, and perhaps actual regression has occurred,” Filip wrote in a report to U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco. The monitor, a partner in the Kirkland & Ellis law firm in Chicago, said the number of “missed hazard trees,” after declining late last year after a critical report, has risen again. In one case, Filip said his team spotted just three weeks ago a tree that was supposed to have been pulled down in mid-August. The leaves on the tree actually made contact with utility equipment and the leaves were singed. The tree has since been removed…

Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, October 20, 2020: Man once sentenced to jail for IOP tree cutting now faces lawsuit from the city

A man who faced jail time for cutting down protected trees is being sued by the city, which says he still needs to pay the value of the growth he destroyed. In a lawsuit filed last week, Isle of Palm leaders say Jonathan James Gandolfo completed his sentence for the infraction but has failed to either donate replacement trees or pay the cost of replacing them, a part of the city’s tree ordinance. The complaint estimates the cost at around $57,000. IOP is asking both for the tree replacement cost and additional punitive damages of an unspecified amount. An attorney for the town declined to comment beyond the specifics in the complaint. Alice Paylor, an attorney for Gandolfo, said Tuesday she is in the process of filing a motion to dismiss the suit. She said the statute of limitations has run out on the ordinance, and that Gandolfo can’t be forced to pay the fees because he did not own the land where the trees were cut. Gandolfo was convicted in a 2018 jury trial of improperly cutting down two trees, one significant and one historic, on an Isle of Palms property. He attempted to buy the property the trees were on but ultimately the sale did not close…

Kansas City, Missouri, Star, October 20, 2020: Alien-looking hairy red pods spouting from ‘stressed’ trees in Hawaii, experts say

In yet another example of 2020’s endless supply of bad omens, hairy looking red pods are now growing from trees in a volcanic park on the Island of Hawaii. A photo showing two of the growths dangling from Ohia tree limbs was posted Oct. 10 on Facebook by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a turbulent area that “includes two of the world’s most active volcanoes.” Classic science fiction warns such pods are foreboding evidence of an alien invasion, like the pods that assume the shape of people in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” A US Geological Survey drone captured lava erupting at the fissure 8 cinder cone near Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano on July 14. According to the USGS, the lava emerging from the cone was traveling at a speed of 13 to 16 miles per hour. But the National Park Service says the “red nests” are indicative of a different kind of trouble — one that has nature acting in reverse. The Ohia trees are so stressed, officials said, roots are popping out above ground on their limbs. “Stress may come from the cracking of the tree’s bark (either from natural growth or injury), fire heat or smoke, insects, or disease,” the post said. “In the park, the phenomenon has been especially documented in trees that were defoliated during the eruptions of Kīlauea Iki in 1959 and Mauna Ulu in the early 1970s…

Tucson, Arizona, Arizona Daily Star, October 20, 2020: The best way to plant a tree in Tucson

How do you plant a tree? As the old joke goes, green end up. In Tucson, it’s a bit more complicated, and one big reason for that is caliche. Caliche is a hardened soil layer common to desert soils. It is made up of calcium salts and minerals (mostly calcium carbonate) which are naturally present in the soil. In rainier places, minerals and salts in the soil are flushed through by rainfall. In drier climates like ours, over time these salts and minerals build up and form a hard layer (also called hardpan) anywhere from several inches to several feet thick. Anyone who’s tried to dig a hole by hand in Tucson knows what it’s like to try to dig through caliche — a pick or a caliche bar will be your best friend. For larger jobs, you may need to rent a jackhammer, or even a backhoe. This hard layer makes it tough on new plants — particularly trees — because their roots won’t get the drainage or the room they need if you leave the caliche in place. In addition, if a tree’s roots end up growing shallow due to the caliche layer, the tree will be in danger of toppling once it gets taller. This would not only kill the tree, but potentially be a hazard to property and people. The University of Arizona Extension Office has a helpful handout on managing caliche…

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Advocate, October 19, 2020: How to deal with damaged trees after a storm

Trees are very important features of our landscapes, providing shade in summer, allowing heat to radiate into the house in winter, adding aesthetic beauty and actually improving the value of our homes. For those of us who really love trees, they are priceless. However, when a storm blows through, the damage they leave behind can be devastating to homeowners and commercial industries. Hurricane Laura took out 757,538 acres of timber, according to LSU AgCenter specialists. In Louisiana, forestry and timber rank No. 1 in the top 10 agricultural commodities at $3.49 billion, so that kind of loss is enormous. For homeowners, once a storm has passed, you need to figure out what type of damage your tree has incurred. If major limbs or the tree’s central main branch is damaged or down, you’ve likely lost your tree. Such extensive damage makes it very difficult for the tree to recover. Large wounds will take a long time to heal. In some cases, it is possible the tree will survive, but it will be definitely be stunted in addition to being a big target for pests and disease…

New York City, Spectrum NY1, October 19, 2020: Chicopee Christmas Tree Farm Prepares for Holiday Season

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Paul Bunyan’s Farm and Nursery as they prepare their Christmas trees for the holiday season. Susan Lopes, business owner and Christmas tree farmer at Paul Bunyan’s Farm & Nursery, said she looks forward to this time of year because she loves seeing the joy the trees bring families. “I think I have the best job in the whole world. I love, love growing Christmas trees,” said Lopes. She spends her days out in the field making sure every tree is perfect. “I live Christmas year round. When you grow Christmas trees, it’s Christmas every day around here, at least for me,” said Lopes. Even though the pandemic canceled a lot of activities and events, it didn’t cancel Christmas and the beginning of the farm’s annual tree tagging in September. “It was a really special time for them,” said Lopes. “And for me, knowing all my hard work in the summer months paid off.” In a way, the farm provides a sense of normalcy for some in a time far from normal…

Seattle, Washington, Times, October 19, 2020: Prune trees for great looks — and safety

Whether your home is surrounded with mature trees and shrubs or you have new landscaping, you’ll want to make the most of your greenery. Properly pruned trees are graceful and elegant, shading your home in summer and creating much-needed privacy on smaller city lots. By contrast, an out-of-control tree is not only an eyesore, its branches can post a hazard to your gutters and roof — or to your neighbors’ property. “The key to living with trees is regular maintenance,” says Jeff Warrick, an arborist with Eastside Tree Works. “You are doing yourself and the tree a huge favor. Routine pruning costs much less than dealing with a tree in an emergency.” Warrick helps people assess the health of their trees and shrubs and create a plan for maintaining them. It’s especially important, he says, when you have Douglas firs, big-leaf maples, or Western hemlocks on your property…

Phys.org, October 19, 2020: Trees bring benefits to society, regardless of their origin

Trees planted in urban spaces provide a multitude of ecosystem services: they reduce air pollution and noise, provide habitat and shelter for other species, and reduce erosion during heavy rains. They also offer opportunities for relaxation, attenuate urban heat islands and contribute both to landscapes and a sense of place. At the same time, trees can be a source of allergens, generate maintenance costs and cause accidents or threats to native biodiversity if introduced from elsewhere. This last point is the subject of an ongoing debate: do introduced species contribute to biodiversity and ecosystem services? Environmental scientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) – working in collaboration with the Botanical Gardens and Conservatory of the City of Geneva—have analyzed a large data-base of trees found in the Geneva region, and systematically assessed the services and inconveniences they generate. The results of the study, to be published in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, show that most tree species in Geneva are non-native, and that trees provide roughly the same ecosystem services to Geneva’s urban spaces regardless of their origin…

Washington, D.C., Post, October 16, 2020: Human-driven climate change is changing the colors of fall foliage, scientists say

In the 19th century, eastern forests looked very different. Huge American chestnut trees, their trunks up to 10 feet in diameter, dominated forests from Maine to Mississippi. Their bright yellow foliage gilded Appalachia every autumn. Then, a shipment of imported trees arrived in New York in 1876 carrying a stowaway: Cryphonectria parasitica, a fungus native to Asia. Within a few decades, the fungal blight wiped out hundreds of millions of chestnuts. Oaks, hickories and red maples took over, turning yellow autumn forests more scarlet and bronze. The pattern continues as human activities transform not just the health and composition of forests, but their colors, too. Introduced pests, pathogens and invasive species are causing immediate changes to the fall color palette. And scientists are beginning to see a framework for how climate change may shape the forest colors of the future. “These species have been adapting for millions of years, and we’re putting them through a stress test in a very short period of time. It’s shocking their system,” said Tanisha M. Williams, the Burpee postdoctoral fellow in botany at Bucknell University. “But they are adapting.” Autumn’s longer nights and cooler days kick-start the seasonal color change, known as leaf senescence. Trees respond to the difference in temperature, precipitation and light by slowing photosynthesis. As the chlorophyll — the energy-producing compound that makes leaves green — breaks down, new chemical compounds emerge. Carotenoids, the same pigments in carrots and buttercups, make leaves appear orange, yellow and amber…

Hartford, Connecticut, Courant, October 16, 2020: Invasive insect, a danger to vineyards, beer hops, found in Connecticut

An invasive insect that has devastated vineyards, beer hop fields, orchards and other crops in several mid-Atlantic states, may be finding a home in Connecticut. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven announced this week that adult spotted lanternflies were detected in New Canaan. A single example of the insect was seen in Stamford. Last month spotted lanternflies were also found in Greenwich and West Haven. State and federal plant inspectors are conducting surveys to determine the extent of the infestation. The spotted lanternfly, native to China, India and Vietnam, first appeared in the U.S. in 2014. There were sightings in Farmington in 2018 and Southbury in 2019.“This insect has the potential to cause a great deal of damage, says Deputy State Etymologist Victoria Smith. The lanternfly has affected crops in several states, particularly in Pennsylvania. It has also been found in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. There’s another danger, associated with how the insect sucks and digests sap from fruit. Smith says there have been incidents where people broke arms or legs slipping on accumulated lanternfly excrement…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, October 18, 2020: Mushrooms are a healthy sign in your lawn — but can mean trouble on a tree

After an autumn rain, they suddenly appear: mushrooms. They pop up in the lawn, in the mulch around the base of trees, and among the perennials. Some homeowners are alarmed by them, but mushrooms should be a welcome sight. They’re delivering good news about the health of your soil. “Mushrooms mean fungi,” said Meghan Midgley, a soil ecologist at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. And fungi are one of the major ingredients of healthy soil that is good for your plants. “Fungi are natural composters,” she said. They do most of the work of breaking down each year’s batch of fallen leaves. “If you see mushrooms, it’s a sign that your soil has a healthy soil food web,” Midgley said. Along with other microorganisms, fungi consume all kinds of organic matter — the remains of dead plants, animals and other living things — and release useful nutrients into the soil to be absorbed by plant roots. Gardeners might wonder why they would want a fungus in their yards, when fungi are the source of plant diseases such as powdery mildew and cedar-apple rust. But though some kinds do cause disease, far more fungi are beneficial. They are essential to good soil, thriving plants and healthy ecosystems all over the world…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, October 17, 2020: Clear away dead trees before winter storms hit

Winter is nearly here, which means many homeowners should think about clearing away dead trees on their property. “It is very important to cut down dead trees,” said Cameron Kenny of Edmunds Trucking Excavation and Logging, a fully insured, family-run operation in Ossipee for the past five years. “You should never have them around your house because they could fall on and damage it,” he added. “Dead trees can also fall and hit a healthy tree. One good gust of wind could be all it takes.” In addition to removing dead trees, Kenny said they do everything from hauling wood and general tree service to firewood and excavation. The length of time for a particular kind of job varies, it depends on the nature of the work. For a small house lot with little trees and brush, he said they can usually clear 1-acre on a daily basis. For logging, he said they can clear 2-acres daily. “It all depends on what is on the acreage and land,” said Kenny, who noted they practice conventional logging with a chainsaw and skidder versus mechanized logging and “millions of dollars in equipment.” For pricing, he cited two different models. They buy the wood if there are 4 to 5 acres of good, healthy and mature trees, the latter characteristic defined differently depending on the tree…

UPI, October 15, 2020: Laser technology used to measure biomass of giant Californian redwood trees

For the first time, researchers have executed a three-dimensional survey of the world’s biggest trees, using laser technology to precisely measure the volume and biomass of Northern Californian redwoods. Researchers detailed the feat in a new paper published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports. California’s giant redwood trees play an outsized role in above ground carbon sequestration, and have a larger impact on their ecosystems than their more diminutive neighbors. “They are also very hard to measure and so tend to be underrepresented in measurements and models of above ground biomass,” Mat Disney, professor of geography at University College London, said in a news release. Researchers used ground-based lasers to measure the biomass of large coastal redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens, at three forest sites in Northern California. Scientists hope the data will help them more precisely monitor the impacts of climate change on redwood forests. “Big questions within climate science in response to rising CO2 levels are whether and where more trees should be planted and how best to conserve existing forests,” said Disney, lead author of the new study. “In order to answer these questions, scientists first need to understand how much carbon is stored in different tree species…”

Phys.org, October 15, 2020: Thinning and prescribed fire treatments reduce tree mortality

To date in 2020, 1,217 wildfires have burned 1,473,522 million acres of National Forest System lands in California; 8,486 wildfires have burned over 4 million acres across all jurisdictions in California. This current fire activity comes after forests in the region experienced an extreme drought accompanied by warmer than normal temperatures from 2012 to 2015, resulting in the deaths of over 147 million trees, mostly from bark beetles. These dead trees are now adding more fuel to this summer’s wildfires, especially in the southern and central Sierra Nevada, where tree mortality was the heaviest. Frequent fire once kept forests throughout the western US relatively open and prevented excess litter and downed wood from accumulating on the forest floor. After more than a century of fire suppression, many forests became far denser than they once were and more prone to disturbances such as uncharacteristically severe wildfire and drought. A recently released study by USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station research ecologists Eric Knapp and Malcolm North, research entomologist Chris Fettig, along with co-authors Alexis Bernal and Dr. Jeffrey Kane (Humboldt State University) suggests that if forests had been closer to their historic densities, tree mortality would likely not have been as severe. Published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management, the study found that between 2014 and 2018, 34% of trees in unthinned areas died compared with only 11% of trees in thinned areas…

Global News, October 15, 2020: Winnipeg working on new approach to manage, protect city’s tree canopy: ‘We need a plan’

The city is turning to Winnipeggers for help completing an urban forest strategy, a 20-year plan covering invasive forest pest management, tree maintenance and pruning, tree planting, as well as tree protection and preservation. Once it’s completed, Winnipeg’s city forester Martha Barwinsky says it will be the first time in more than a century of tree planting the city will have such a blueprint. And there are more than a few challenges facing Winnipeg’s estimated 3.1 million trees. “We’ve got the invasive pests, but also we’ve got development happening in the city … we need a plan,” said Barwinsky. “It’s to provide a framework and direction … on what’s important and what we need to prioritize in our urban forest management and, really, how we’re going to manage it … considering all of the challenges…”

Detroit, Michigan, News, October 15, 2020: Dying tips on pine trees

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to look at a pine tree that was declining in health over the past few years. I looked over the tree and surveyed the site it was growing on. It was situated between two tall houses. There wasn’t much space between the two buildings and the tree had just about outgrown its spot. The tips of the branches were almost touching one of the houses. Because of where it was planted, not much sunshine was reaching the tree. It was shaded morning and evening and the rest of the day it received dappled shade from some nearby tall maple trees. The soil, basically fill-dirt from the original excavation with a thin layer of topsoil, was obviously dry. Whatever grass that was there was thin and spotty. The pine tree itself had many dead and dying branches. Those symptoms along with its growing site told me it was a classic case of Diplodia tip blight. Trees growing on poor sites are most apt to be infected…

Cision PR Wire, October 13, 2020: US Tree Map: EarthDefine Creates the Most Detailed Map of America’s Trees

EarthDefine, a provider of high-resolution spatial data products, has released the first version of its US Tree Map product – accurately mapping over 550-million acres of tree cover across the conterminous United States. This data provides the most detailed mapping of the nation’s tree cover by mapping trees at 900 times the resolution of currently available national datasets. The US Tree Map seamlessly maps tree cover with an overall accuracy exceeding 96%. The data will be a continually updated to maintain a ‘live’ snapshot of the nation’s trees. EarthDefine will acquire and process new aerial imagery every year, to keep track of the ever-changing tree cover in the U.S. at an unprecedented scale and precision. EarthDefine used AI to process over 120 terabytes of 0.6-meter resolution National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) aerial imagery to create the US Tree Map. The advantages of using such state-of-the-art AI is clear where trees need to be consistently classified across the vast and diverse geography of the continental US. “We are seeing a lot of attention being paid to our Nation’s trees and forests,” said EarthDefine CEO, Vikalpa Jetly. “From rapidly changing forest cover due to the effects of wildfire, to the increased awareness of how trees benefit urban communities – people are interested in understanding and taking inventory of trees across the country.” EarthDefine’s US Tree Map can help planners assess urban tree canopy for any city in the contiguous U.S. and also support other applications like biomass estimation, wildfire risk monitoring, or quantifying ecosystem services…

Phys.org, October 14, 2020: Whitebark pine declines may unravel the tree’s mutualism with Clark’s Nutcracker

The relationship between the whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis), an iconic tree of western mountaintops, and the Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana), a brash bird in the crow family, is often used as an example of the biological concept of mutualism: a relationship between species where both benefit. The pine provides large, nutritious seeds to the nutcracker. The nutcracker buries these seeds for later use in scattered hiding spots, inevitably failing to retrieve some and effectively planting the next generation of whitebark pine. But the mutualism between the pine and the nutcracker is not equal. While the pine depends heavily on nutcrackers for seed dispersal and germination, the nutcracker merely prefers the whitebark pine’s seeds. If whitebark pine seeds aren’t available or abundant, the highly mobile nutcracker will fly off and find another food source. A study published today in the journal PLOS ONE suggests that the inequality in the pine-nutcracker mutualism may make this partnership vulnerable when the populations of one of the partners declines. Scientists from The Institute for Bird Populations, the National Park Service, and the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative found that the mutualistic relationship between whitebark pine and Clark’s Nutcrackers may be threatened by local declines in the tree’s population…

Reason, October 13, 2020: The USDA Should Let People Plant Blight-Resistant American Chestnut Trees

The American chestnut was once the dominant hardwood species in Appalachian mountain forests, comprising as much as 40 percent of the overstory trees in the climax forests of the Eastern United States. Foresters used to quip that an enterprising squirrel could travel from Maine to Georgia on the interlocking branches of chestnut trees. The fast-growing American chestnuts often reached five feet in diameter and 60–100 feet in height. Then came the Asian chestnut blight in the early 20th century that killed over 3 billion American chestnuts basically causing the tree to become functionally extinct throughout its natural range. The blight fungus was probably brought to America on imported nursery stock of Chinese chestnuts. American trees had simply never evolved resistance to this parasite. The American chestnut is now almost entirely gone from the landscape except for a few stumps in the woods that still produce shoots that the blight kills before they reach 15 feet in height. For more than 30 years, the American Chestnut Foundation (ACF) has been engaged in a privately financed program in which its geneticists have been crossbreeding American chestnuts with blight-resistant Chinese chestnuts. The goal is to produce an American chestnut tree that retains essentially only the blight resistance genes from the Chinese chestnut tree…

Sacramento, California, Bee, October 14, 2020: PG&E resumes tree cutting in California town that fought back. Activists aren’t giving up

Preservationists in Nevada City thought they’d won a landmark victory last month against PG&E Corp., securing a court ruling preventing California’s largest utility from chopping down hundreds of trees in their community to reduce wildfire risks. Now PG&E has won a green light to resume cutting. A Nevada County Superior Court judge reversed himself Friday, saying he didn’t have the authority to regulate Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s tree-removal program in the Sierra foothills community. That “exclusive jurisdiction” belongs to the Public Utilities Commission, Judge Thomas Anderson wrote. PG&E said Wednesday the ruling gives it the freedom to resume its tree-cutting program in Nevada City, part of a ramped-up effort by the company to reduce vegetation throughout its service territory that could lead to wildfires. With the court’s new ruling, “PG&E’s tree crews will continue moving forward with the tree removals,” the company said…

Los Angeles, California, Times, October 12, 2020: Tree branches hitting power lines may have sparked Bobcat fire, utility says

Tree branches may have come in contact with Southern California Edison equipment and sparked the Bobcat fire in the Angeles National Forest, according to a letter the utility sent to regulators on Monday. As part of the U.S. Forest Service’s probe into the fire, investigators took a 23-foot-long line of conductor belonging to the utility, an “H-Frame structure” with two power poles and three tree branches, Edison wrote in its letter to the Public Utilities Commission. Monday’s letter was a supplement to the utility’s Sept. 15 filing with the CPUC, where the company notified regulators that there was an “incident” on their grid in the same general area and around the same time as the beginning of the Bobcat fire. The fire has scorched more than 115,000 acres between the San Gabriel and Antelope valleys and destroyed more than 80 homes since it began Sept. 6 near Cogswell Dam in the Angeles National Forest…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, October 12, 2020: Placement is key when planting trees

This is the first column in a series to explain my updated tree-planting recommendations. These are not just ideas or techniques learned from books or other people in the business, but procedures and techniques learned from personal experience in the landscape design, installation and maintenance businesses during the past 50 years. I currently don’t do the work, except on my own properties, but I am spending more time than ever researching and reviewing work done through the years by me and many others in the business to see what worked the best and what didn’t work so well. The first step is the proper selection of trees. Concentrating on the North Texas area, it’s important to point out that certain trees have been quite severely overused. Not that you should totally avoid these trees, but realize that live oaks, red oaks, cedar elms and crape myrtles (all quality trees) have been overplanted. Just make them a little smaller percentage of what you choose to plant…

Sacramento, California, KCRA-TV, October 12, 2020: Protesters sit in trees, try to stop PG&E removals in Nevada City

Trees marked for removal in Nevada City by PG&E are being guarded by protesters who plan to stay up in the trees overnight. They sat on branches throughout the day Monday so the utility couldn’t cut the trees down. Demonstrators, who are part of a large group of Nevada City residents against the tree removals, are committed to guarding the trees. However, the utility said the trees need to come down for safety reasons. “It’s something that I can take a stand for,” said Joy Knight as he sat high above the ground in the branch of a Ponderosa tree that’s marked for removal. “I’ll stay up here as long as I need to. I stopped eating and drinking so I don’t have to use the restroom.” Knight and a handful of other demonstrators are taking turns going up in the trees and standing in the shade of them to protest PG&E’s planned removal. They said they’ve tried other means to negotiate with the utility, but this is their last resort. “PG&E has a lot of money and we don’t,” Knight said. “So, I’m up in a tree…”

AVVO Legal Answers, October 12, 2020: Who is responsible if a huge tree falls from a homeowners yard onto the apartment parking lot totaling 2 vehicles?

Q: A few wks ago a huge tree fell in the middle of the night from my neighbors yard totaling mine and another neighbors vehicles. There wasnt any inclement weather and the tree limbs had been falling in the months prior causing power outages etc. The homeowner reached out to me in July advising she was having the limbs cut so it doesnt damage our vehicles but the entire tree fell since then. I now have to replace a car, pay rental car fees etc due to no fault of my own. How can we be paid back for the expenses we are incurring?
A: If the tree was dead, and was a known hazard, the homeowner has liability for failure to exercise due care to remove the tree. If the tree was green, the homeowner would have an Act of God defense. If you have comprehensive and collision insurance coverage, you should turn this claim over to your insurance company…


Yahoo.com, October 8, 2020: ‘Highly invasive’ tree putting our iconic sugar maple at risk

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year. It’s when nature paints landscapes with beautiful colours of oranges, yellows and reds and perhaps the star of the show is the iconic sugar maple. “The sugar maple is regarded, actually by many people around the world, to be the most beautiful tree in the world for its colours,” said Eric Davies, with the faculty of forestry at the University of Toronto. Davies says the sugar maple is ecologically dominant in eastern North America and plays a huge role in providing a habitat for biodiversity of all types. “Maple syrup — this is something Indigenous people taught European settlers, and has become a huge important part of life and also the wood is very revered,” Davies explains. “You can make cutting boards because there’s no toxins in it, you can build beautiful furniture, [and] it’s [also] really good for burning in your fireplace. It’s good for just about everything that you would want a wood to be good for.” But this native tree is among the many threatened by invasive species, like the European Norway maple. They may look similar when it comes to their foliage, but one is detrimental to the ecosystems it invades. Davies says when you think of ecosystems, think in terms of a trophic food web: a pyramid…
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Roanoke, Virginia, WDBJ-TV, October 8, 2020: Roanoke’s tree stewards looking for more volunteers

Life lessons come from many unexpected places. But they’re all around us, kind of like how trees just sort of hug the greenway. Harry Van Guilder spends a lot of time with trees. As one of Roanoke’s tree stewards, it’s part of his job description, even though he’s not compensated other than in gratitude. The group got its start in 2009 after the recession. The city’s urban forester lost half his budget and half his staff, and needed help. Across the state there are ten of these groups, but Roanoke’s is hoping to get a few more hands. “We concentrate on the smaller trees, and the things we can do from the ground with no power tools, just hand tools,” said Van Guilder. With the pandemic, there haven’t been many work days; they just resumed in July. That means the work that gets done is needed that much more. “And not even having a budget to buy trees to plant, and the city loses approximately 250 trees per year, due to storm damage, disease, age and accidents,” said Van Guilder. Van Guilder hopes to plant 100 new trees between now and next spring. The money for the trees will come from the stewards’ non-profit. And whether he’s pruning or planting, he knows the service is making a difference…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, October 8, 2020: Why are so many trees falling during storms?

After downed trees from Wednesday’s storm led to widespread power outages across the state, arborists said Thursday that trees can be under stress for a number of reasons, making them more vulnerable to such wind events. Climate change, droughts, storms, invasive species, and disease are just some of the factors that threaten the health of trees. Drought has had a negative impact on trees across Massachusetts, according to Russell Holman, an arborist from Arborway Tree Care of Hyde Park who serves on the board of the Massachusetts Arborists Association. “It’s not just a one-year drought,” said Holman. “They’re losing roots.” Most of Massachusetts is currently under severe or extreme drought conditions, according to the US Drought Monitor. The monitor has reported that since 2000, the longest duration of drought in Massachusetts lasted 48 weeks, from June 2016 to May 2017. Holman said dry seasons from previous years have weakened the roots of many trees, leaving them more vulnerable to high winds. Higher temperatures are also causing certain trees to move further north…

Boston, Massachusetts, Boston.com, October 8, 2020: New England’s forests are sick. They need more tree doctors.

Bear and Melissa LeVangie spent much of their childhood aloft, in a then-forested area of Massachusetts. “Our mother would say, I don’t want to see you until it is dark,” said Bear LeVangie. “We would climb an 80-foot — it seemed like a 100-foot then — white pine and hang out and not think twice about it.” The twins still spend much of their time in and around trees: Both are arborists, which is akin to being tree doctors. Both are seeing a surge in demand for arborists because the region’s trees are faring so poorly. “I would never have anticipated how fast things are declining,” said Melissa LeVangie, who works for Shelter Tree, a tree care supply company, and is tree warden, or caretaker, for the town of Petersham in central Massachusetts. As climate change accelerates, the trees in the Eastern forests of the United States are increasingly vulnerable. For many arborists, the challenges facing trees are reshaping and expanding the nature of their work. Many said they are spending more time on tree removal than ever before — taking down dead or unhealthy trees, or trees damaged or felled by storms. “We are a heavily treed state,” said Kristina Bezanson, an arborist and a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “We are having more tree problems that require lots of arborists, and there is a shortage of arborists…”

<p><a href=”>Kansas City, Missouri, Star, October 7, 2020: Tree burns from the inside out in Sierra Nevada wildfire, video shows

Flames leaped through a crack in a Sierra Nevada tree trunk and engulfed the inside, video shows. Video from Daniel R. Patterson captured the freaky fire traveling through the center of the trunk on Tuesday. The short video shows the flames mysteriously burning through a crack in the trunk and flaring through the hole. In July, a similar scene happened in Maine when fire burst from the inside of a tree during a storm, McClatchy News reported. The fire department thought it had been hit by a bolt of lightning, which caused the tree to burn from the inside out. “This is the craziest thing,” wrote Christian radio station WHCF in Bangor. “They say it got hit by lightning and set the inside of this tree on fire. You gotta admit 2020 does not disappoint in the ‘Never-saw-that one coming’ department…”

Palm Springs, California, Desert Sun, October 7, 2020: Valley Voice: Tamarisk trees aren’t good for our desert, even in the eyes of a tree lover

“Mom, puh-leeze!” That’s what I heard from my kids every time I stopped to admire the beauty, graceful form and, of course, shade of a tree. I love trees. So, when the city of Palm Desert designed phase two of its San Pablo Avenue project and included the removal of longstanding tamarisk trees, I was concerned and sought more information. We are fortunate to have reliable and impressive sources of information in our desert. The resources I contacted include: Cameron Barrows, PhD., Center for Conservation Biology, UCR; Jim Cornett, Principal Biologist, JWC Ecological Consultants, author of 44 books (mostly about deserts); and Randy Chavez, Landscape Supervisor for the city of Palm Desert. I asked each of them about tamarisk trees. I felt like I had gone back to school. Here’s some of what I learned: Tamarisk trees were brought here in the early 1900s. They grow tall, dense and fast and thrive in hot, arid climates. For those reasons, they once seemed like the perfect wind break, reducing blowing sand and related issues. Tamarisks are not native to our desert, or any North American desert, and through the years we have learned of their negative impacts. Tamarisks are classified as an invasive species. They can grow from cuttings or seeds and, unfortunately, wreak havoc with the Coachella Valley’s natural spring and oasis environments outcompeting native species. They provide little, if any, food or shelter for native mammals, birds (migrating or native), reptiles and insects…

Great Falls, Montana, Tribune, October 7, 2020: City trees colorful this year following drab fall show in 2019

Great Falls residents are being treated to brilliant if sporadic fall colors this year after a big snowstorm last year froze green leaves in place making for a drab transition to winter.”Some trees are turning faster than others,” said Jim Brusda, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Great Falls. Leaves are turning from green to golden at different rates because the city hasn’t seen consistent cold temperatures needed to turn all trees into dormancy at the same time, Brusda said. One day of freezing occurred Sept. 8, when the low was 28 degrees. The city hasn’t been below freezing since then, Brusda said. That’s resulted in intermittent colors, with some trees remaining green longer than others depending on soils and species, Brusda said…

Suffolk, New York, Northforker, October 7, 2020: How to take care of your trees now that the stormy season is here

As the second-generation owner of Mattituck-based Shamrock Tree Service and Landscaping, Jonathan Shipman has pruned, cut, and cared for thousands of trees. But there is one that is special to him. It’s a large pin oak tree, sitting majestically on a homeowner’s property on Nassau Point. Shipman first climbed the tree to prune some dead branches when he was just 16, working for the family business his father had started in 1974. A decade later, at the age of 26, Shipman ascended the trunk and branches again, doing the work to keep the tree healthy for his client. Last year, at the age of 36, Shipman connected with the tree for a third time, continuing the sort of Giving Tree-in-reverse relationship that had started so many years ago. In the aftermath of any severe storms or blustery weather, Shipman makes a habit of driving to Nassau Point to check on the tree, and he said he’s always satisfied with what he sees. “There’s no dead wood, and every cut that’s been made has healed perfectly,” he said. “It’s really cool to have climbed that tree three times. There’s not one broken branch. It survived the most recent storm without any broken limbs or failures, and that’s likely due to proper pruning and good tree health over the years.” With the blustery and stormy fall weather descending, Shipman’s story is a good reminder for area homeowners about the importance of properly caring for the trees on their property, particularly at this time of year, and it serves as an example that an investment in preventative maintenance can go a long way…

The Dispatch, October 6, 2020: Loving Our Trees to Death

The Western wildfires that dominated headlines in August and September continue to burn, and there are several months left in this year’s “fire season.” The August Fire in Northern California became the second-largest fire in the state’s history last month, and the Glass Fire is burning through large portions of Napa and Sonoma counties. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate and air quality in many parts of California remains unhealthy. The Dispatch sat down with Arkansas Rep. Bruce Westerman, graduate of Yale Forestry School and the only registered forester in Congress, to discuss his work promoting better forest management in the federal government and the costs of allowing each year’s fire season to get worse. The latest thing I’ve got out is the Trillion Trees Act, which addresses planting trees, how to make our existing forests healthier, and how do we do sustainable buildings, which are closely tied to [the health of] our forests and the climate. How do we prevent catastrophic wildfires? How do we make our forest healthier? And how do we maximize the amount of carbon that these forests are storing? So the more trees we’ve got that are sitting out there full of carbon, the better we are at cleaning the atmosphere. When we see fires like you’re talking about out there now [in California], that is spewing carbon into the atmosphere. And it’s not only spewing carbon into the atmosphere, it killed those trees that were spewing carbon out…

Vernon, Connecticut, Patch, October 6, 2020: 9 Years After Snowtober, Tree Still Causing Concern In Vernon

Nine years after being heavily damaged during the infamous “Snowtober” blizzard, a tree on Center Road in Vernon is still causing headaches. A combination of Vernon Department of Public Works staffers and a a private arbor contractor had a busy Tuesday morning trimming the troublesome tree. The tree, thought to be in trouble after the epic storm, had actually grown enough to threaten wires and begin to hang over part of the road. The position of the work crew was eerily similar to that of 2011. The tree sits on a tricky, hilly curve on a road that drivers of large trucks are advised not to use. The powerful storm blew in on Oct. 28, 2011 and a large portion of the tree fell onto that curve. With a foot a slushy, heavy snow already on the pavement, it wreaked havoc on the heavily traveled road that connects routes 30 and 83. For about two days, emergency crews, forgetting the large limb was still strews across the road, had to make U-turns on nearby Crestridge Drive…

Phoenix, Arizona, KNXV-TV, October 6, 2020: Phoenix FD: Tree trimmer dies after getting trapped under palm fronds

A professional palm tree trimmer was killed during an incident on the job Tuesday morning. Phoenix Fire Department officials were called to conduct a palm tree rescue near 20th Street and Indian School after a man became trapped under hundreds of pounds of palm fronds. The tree trimmer’s son, who works with him, called 911 for help, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene. Fire officials say the man is believed to have suffocated underneath the weight before they were able to reach him in the tree. He was about halfway up the tree when the incident occurred. No further information has been released. Phoenix police are investigating…

Phys.org, October 6, 2020: CRISPRing trees for a climate-friendly economy

Researchers led by Prof. Wout Boerjan (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology) have discovered a way to stably finetune the amount of lignin in poplar by applying CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Lignin is one of the main structural substances in plants and it makes processing wood into, for example, paper difficult. This study is an important breakthrough in the development of wood resources for the production of paper with a lower carbon footprint, biofuels, and other bio-based materials. Their work, in collaboration with VIVES University College (Roeselare, Belgium) and University of Wisconsin (U.S.) appears in Nature Communications. Today’s fossil-based economy results in a net increase of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere and is a major cause of global climate change. To counter this, a shift toward a circular and bio-based economy is essential. Woody biomass can play a crucial role in such a bio-based economy by serving as a renewable and carbon-neutral resource for the production of many chemicals. Unfortunately, the presence of lignin hinders the processing of wood into bio-based products…

Boston, Massachusetts, WGBH Radio, October 4, 2020: Roxbury Is Fighting For Its Trees

On a recent drive to Brookline, relishing what was probably the last of the summer-like weather, I enjoyed an all too rare moment: a chance to pause and appreciate the beauty of nature. I made my way down a much-traveled thoroughfare, passing postcard-pretty, tree-lined streets. I was headed to a socially distanced patio meeting with a dear friend who happens to live in one of the suburb’s most leafy havens. I turned onto my friend’s street and slowed to admire the abundance and variety of the trees fronting each of the lovely large houses. No, green-thumb me didn’t know the names of all the species, but I later learned that the verdant beauties — some tall, some wide, and some slim — included spruce, white pine, and maple. Fun fact: the tree inventory maintained by Brookline Parks and Open Spaces documents well over 50 varieties of trees on Brookline streets. Whatever their species, most of the trees on my friend’s street were planted ages ago, their thick trunks and deep roots evidence of their long history — just like the mature oaks, maples and lindens which line Melnea Cass Boulevard, a wide thoroughfare which stretches from the Massachusetts Avenue Connector to the Ruggles MBTA station…

Vancouver, British Columbia, CBC, October 4, 2020: How the pandemic helped B.C. tree planters have one of their ‘healthiest years ever’

It might sound counterintuitive, but COVID-19 led B.C.’s tree planters to have one of their “healthiest years ever,” according to an industry representative. And despite a late start, planters are about to put the 300 millionth seedling of the season in the ground, setting a new annual record. “It’s been a good year,” said John Betts of the Western Forestry Contractors’ Association, which represents the majority of tree planting companies in the province. It’s a far cry from where the industry was in March, when, worried about the coronavirus, there was uncertainty over whether the province would even allow 5,000 workers to spread out across the province and into rural communities. But Betts said health guidelines drawn up by industry and the province allowed the work to be done without putting anyone at risk of infection…

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Patriot-News, October 4, 2020: A field guide to trees and their fall colors

The colors of fall are busting out on trees and shrubs across Pennsylvania as the chemistry in their leaves makes the annual autumnal shift. Spring through summer high levels of green chlorophyll have held sway in the leave. But as temperatures and daylight have grown less, production of chlorophyll has declined. That has cleared the way for other compounds, already present in leaves but overshadowed by the abundant chlorophyll, to make their presence known. Flavonoid compounds in the leaves are responsible for the yellows. Carotenoids produce the orange-reds. Anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid, gives us the deep reds, purples and magentas. Unlike the other flavonoids and the carotenoids, anthocyanins are not present in the leaves until fall. They are produced when diminishing chlorophyll clears the way for sunlight to interact with increased concentrations of sugar in the leaves…

Salt Lake City, Utah, KSL-TV, October 4, How University of Utah trees are being used to measure air pollution

University of Utah researchers are using evergreens on campus to measure air quality — yes fine particulate pollution on trees — in a cost-effective way to give a picture of where vehicle exhaust and other pollutants accumulate. “Wherever you have a tree you have a data point,” said Grant Rea-Downing, a doctoral student in geology and geophysics. “A tree doesn’t cost $250 to deploy. We’ll be able to map particulate matter distributions at a very high resolution for very little cost.” The findings were published in GeoHealth and represent a first-of-its-kind study. “We’re not the first to explore the magnetism of pine needles to monitor air quality,” associate professor Pete Lippert said, “but no one had tried this to study winter inversions in the basins of the American West.” Lippert and fellow graduate students Courtney Wagner and Brendon Quirk are all geoscientists in the Department of Geology and Geophysics whose regular research is on a much different scale than pine needles…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2020: Wildfires in Oregon, California Revive Debate Over Spotted Owl Protection 

The wildfires that ravaged the West Coast in recent weeks have renewed a debate in Oregon and Northern California over protections for the northern spotted owl, which some say prevented logging that would have thinned out forests and made the blazes less destructive. The northern spotted owl was listed as a federally threatened species in 1990, which added restrictions to tree-cutting on millions of acres of the region’s national forests. Projects ranging from major logging efforts to small efforts to reduce the overgrowth of trees have been delayed or blocked by lawsuits under the federal Endangered Species Act. “We have crippled the whole process to do effective federal land management there,” said John Bailey, professor of forestry and fire management at Oregon State University. The West Coast’s latest wildfires are burning in California’s wine country. But they have been fueled by dry brush, rather than trees deep in the forest where owls live. Cutting down trees in old-growth forests can threaten local wildlife like the northern spotted owl, but such activities are also critical to reducing combustible fuel and lowering the risk of wildfires growing and spreading quickly, according to forest-management experts…

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, September 30, 2020: Oregon highways along wildfire ravaged forests reopen, nearly half a million trees may still need to be removed 

Nearly 200 miles of highways in Oregon reopened this week after being closed for nearly a month due to the historic fires that swept across large swaths of the state. As of Wednesday, 47 miles of highways remain completely closed. The largest closure is on OR-224, where the Riverside fire ravaged burned more than 138,000 acres in Clackamas County. Another 43 miles of highway across the state are now open but have pilot vehicles providing limited access. The state now estimates that at its peak, 244 miles of highways were closed to all traffic. A previous estimate put that closure at approximately 288 miles. Katherine Benenati, a state transportation spokesperson, said despite several highways reopening, much work remains, and fall and winter weather could pose significant challenges. “Even after roads are fully reopened, heavy rain will be a concern in fire-stricken areas,” she said in a statement. The state may have to stabilize hillsides or clear rockslides in coming weeks or months, and an estimated 480,500 trees may need to be removed. “Slides and debris flows are a particular concern – especially after rains – in areas where fire has stripped away vegetation, tree roots and underbrush,” she said…

Shropshire, UK, Star, October 1, 2020: National Trust warns over loss of trees and woodlands as ash dieback surges

Trees and woods which inspired the likes of Beatrix Potter and John Constable could be lost due to a surge in a disease affecting ash, the National Trust has warned. The conservation charity said it faces its worst year on record for felling trees due to ash dieback, in part because of one of the warmest and driest springs on record. Increased prolonged hot and dry conditions driven by climate change are putting trees under stress and making them more susceptible to disease, dramatically speeding up the impact of ash dieback, the trust said. And lockdown meant ranger teams which would ordinarily carry out felling and maintenance work to ensure tree safety could not do so – leaving them playing catch-up now and diverting resources from other conservation work. While the National Trust has been felling around 4,000-5,000 trees a year in recent years, largely as a result of ash dieback, this year it faces having to cut down around 40,000 trees, with a bill of £2 million…

Mother Earth News, October 1, 2020: Tree Care and Landscaping for a Hurricane-Tolerant Property

It’s no secret that landscaping is an important part of making a home. And nothing “stands out” as essential elements on that landscape more than the trees. Unfortunately, when strong winds arrive and heavy rain comes pouring down, the landscape you once loved may not only get torn apart. It may be a huge source of damage to your home. Fortunately, there are many time-tested landscaping strategies you can use to create a tree-rich and hurricane-tolerant landscape. These strategies will not only protect the landscape itself, but may also help you to avoid property damage when the next hurricane rolls through town. The first step to creating a hurricane-tolerant landscape is selecting the right trees and shrubs. There are a few factors to choosing the right plants for your landscape. Choosing salt-tolerant trees is essential for designing a hurricane-tolerant landscape. Most trees available in coastal areas are already salt-tolerant to some degree. But even if you don’t live right next to the ocean, hurricanes can bring ocean water as far as 30 miles inland. This could be lethally damaging to plants with low salt-tolerance. The closer you live to the ocean, or a bay, the more you should consider salt-tolerance in selecting your plants…

Yahoo News, September 29, 2020: ‘Time running out’ for many maple trees: Report reveals extinction threat

More than 30 species of maple trees, which are cherished for their colourful appearances and syrup production, are in decline and facing extinction in the imminent future, says a new report. Published and commissioned in September 2020 by the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), the revised and extended edition of the Red List of Acer offers details on the conservation status of all 158 species.The review indicates an elevated extinction threat for more than one in five species (36 total) of Acer trees, otherwise known as maple trees, in the near future, with experts urging for additional conservation measures. It also said with 75 per cent of the threatened species are geographically restricted in their native ranges. Across the globe, the report highlights that more than a third of maple species are experiencing a decline of habitat as a result of urban development and increased agriculture. Timber harvesting is also a major contributor to the loss, affecting 25 per cent of threatened maple species. In a statement, Douglas Justice, associate director at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden, said he has already seen firsthand the increased cutting and “alarming loss” of maple tree habitat in southeast Asia in just a few short years. “Time is running out for the world’s biodiversity. Every recent survey of plants and animals in the wild points to this. And as robust as Acer species are, they are certainly not immune,” said Justice. “This is happening nearly everywhere that rarer maples exist. And because of climate change, the narrow habitats that support species at the margins of arid places and at the tops of mountains, are quickly disappearing…”

New Haven. Connecticut, WTNH-TV, September 30, 2020: Some Montville residents call for mayor to resign over Christmas tree controversy

The pine tree at the entrance to I-395 in Montville has been a source of holiday joy over the years but now it’s at the center of a controversy in town. “I’m amazed at what’s going on,” said Jeff Roderick, of Montville. He and his daughter have been decorating the tree for more than twenty years and recently revealed they were the mystery decorators. “Presents and stuff they put under it,” said Chris Conroy, of New London. “The bulbs and lights.” In March they decided to decorate the tree as a thank you to first responders and healthcare workers. One resident, however, complained to the mayor that the handcuffs were insensitive with all the recent claims of police brutality. “I know nothing about that. I’m a cable cutter,” said Roderick. “I just now got internet because I want to see local news and now I’m seeing about the fires, I know nothing about. I’m seeing about what’s his name George Floyd?” The mayor’s office tells News 8 he got a lot of phone calls calling him a racist and out of frustration he said at a public safety meeting “maybe we should just cut it down.” That sparked a firestorm of calls for his resignation and anger toward the woman who complained about the tree…

Seattle, Washington, Post-Intelligencer, September 30, 2020: The world’s southernmost tree hangs on in one of the windiest places on Earth – but climate change is shifting those winds

In 2019, my research team and I found the world’s southernmost tree on an island at the edge of South America. The diminutive tree is 42 years old, stretches several meters along the ground but is only half a meter, or about a foot and a half, tall. In some other place, this tree would grow tall and upright, but here, incredible winds warp and constrain the tree both in height and in where it grows. And due to climate change, those winds are changing. Standing on the southern side of that wind-battered tree means all trees in the world are to your north, with nothing behind you but some grasses, ocean and Antarctica. Isla Hornos, also known as Cape Horn, supports a small population of Nothofagus betuloides – the Magellan’s beech or coigüe. Wind is omnipresent. Cape Horn is one of the windiest places on the planet, and during the expedition, our team faced hurricane-force winds of 75 mph for days at a time. This wind appears to be the main constraint for arboreal life on the island – trees are found only in sheltered locations behind cliffs and hills. While the area hasn’t warmed dramatically, climate change is intensifying the westerly winds that rake the region. Evidence from the nearby Falkland Islands also indicates that the wind direction is shifting too. Because of this, forests on Cape Horn that were previously growing in sheltered areas are now exposed to wind. We found long stretches of dead trees along the edges of the small forests, suggesting that shifting winds caused by climate change may be killing off trees even as new sheltered areas emerge…

Portland, Oregonian, The Oregonian, September 29, 2020: Cathedral Tree is a tucked-away treasure in the urban forests of Astoria

Visitors buzzed about the Astoria Column on a sunny summer morning in September. With the column closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, people stood beneath it staring up, ambled about the hilltop overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River and posed for pictures before the expansive views. With so much else to see at the Astoria Column, it’s understandable that so many could overlook the other towering wonder found a short hike away. The Cathedral Tree is a massive Sitka spruce, said to be some 300 years old and quietly thriving in the urban forest above Astoria. And while the hike begins in the Astoria Column parking lot, the old tree draws far less attention than the human-created beacon just uphill. The forest around the Cathedral Tree has changed in recent years. A massive coastal gale in 2007 brought hurricane-force winds to Astoria, uprooting many trees as it tore along the coastline. The Cathedral Tree itself remained, though many of its upper branches were lost to the storm. It’s not clear exactly how tall the old tree, estimated to be roughly 200 feet tall, actually is, though it remains one of the most impressive Sitka spruce trees on the Oregon coast. Aside from its height, the tree features large natural openings near its base, where it apparently grew up around a nurse log that has since rotted away…

USA Today, September 29, 2020: Oregon man dies in 100-foot fall off cliff into ocean while posing for photo in tree

An Oregon man died Sunday after plunging 100 feet into the ocean during a hike at a state park on the Oregon Coast. Troopers and medics responded at 1:48 p.m. to Oswald West State Park for a report of a person who fell off a cliff, according to state police. Investigators say Steven Gastelum, 43, of Seaside and a second person walked down Devil’s Cauldron trail to take a photograph at the cliffside viewpoint. When Gastelum climbed up a tree to pose for the picture, a limb broke, and he fell 100 feet into the water below. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and rescuers from the Nehalem Bay Fire Department helped find Gastelum and brought him to shore…

Phys.org, September 29, 2020: Evolution of pine needles helps trees cope with rainfall impact

If you have ever hiked in the woods and been surrounded by the sight and smell of pine trees, you may have taken a closer look at pine needles and wondered how their shape, material properties, and surface wettability are all influenced by rainfall. In Physics of Fluids, researchers at the University of Central Florida are currently probing how well pine needles allay the impact of rain beneath the tree. Andrew K. Dickerson and Amy P. Lebanoff explored the impact of raindrops onto fixed, noncircular fibers of Pinus palustris, aka the longleaf pine, by using high-speed videography to capture the results. “Drops impacting fixed fibers are greatly deformed and split apart,” said Dickerson. “As expected, the breakup of the drop and the force felt by the fiber is dependent on drop size and speed.” Impact force and the shape of the resulting lobe of water also depending on the shape of the fiber exposed to the oncoming drop…

South Burlington, Vermont, WPTZ-TV, September 29, 2020: ‘It’s like somebody’s puking a rainbow’: Helicopter with hanging saw trims trees along Vermont train tracks

An unusual sight has been captivating onlookers across Vermont recently. It’s a railroad safety project, with work being conducted high above the tracks. “This is the safest way to trim trees,” pilot Alan Stack said of his helicopter, which almost looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. Stack works for a South Carolina-based company called Rotor Blade. Using a helicopter carrying a dangling bar with ten spinning saws, he has been winding his way from Vermont’s southeast to northwest corners—carefully cutting back tree limbs along the rail corridor, to give a wide berth for freight or passenger trains. “There’s going to be no overhanging limbs that could fall in front of the train and cause any problems,” Stack explained. The pilot makes pass after pass, trimming trees both high and low to carve a neat hallway. Jesse Skipper’s one of the ground crew members, who helps with refueling and route-planning. “Typically, we’re looking at a third of a mile or a half-mile an hour,” Skipper estimated, describing the pace of the work. The whole job was estimated to take 90 days, the crew said. Other workers are on cleanup duty, picking up the limbs that fall. The crew’s been attracting attention just about wherever the chopper flies, simply because of how strange the sight is…

West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University, September 29, 2020: Tree wounds and healing

Trees are incredible survivors in spite of the challenges from pests of all kinds, including us! They are vulnerable to injuries such as mechanical wounds from lawn equipment, vehicles and ice. Pruning results in an intentional wound which is of importance to consider. Tree owners and managers need to prune trees to maintain aesthetic characteristics, remove infected limbs, reduce risk, or improve structural stability. Proper pruning practice and understanding tree wounds can minimize the impact of creating wounds on trees. Wounds attract pests due to the phytochemicals dispersed from exposed tissue. When tree tissue is damaged or wounded, the newly uncovered tissue is exposed and that is when to expect an attack. Insect pests are drawn to trees in distress, feeding on the tissue and weakening the tree. Diseases affecting trees will introduce enzymes into the cells, digesting living tissue responsible for food and water translocation (phloem and xylem) or structural support resulting in unhealthy, unsightly, or unsafe trees. Trees attempt to close wounds by sealing or compartmentalizing the affected area, naturally. Wounding of trees during the growing season results in the formation of callus tissue which develops over the wound surface or parts of it. This callus tissue is an unorganized group of important parenchyma cells. As the callus develops and grows, wound wood develops which hopefully will cover the exposed tissue quickly and efficiently…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, September 28, 2020: Houston arborist discusses tree care tips during storms, hurricanes

With hurricane season in full swing and the latest tropical storm moving steadily towards the coast, Sugar Land residents need to know how to protect their homes, yards and cars from destructive winds and downed trees. Forester Matt Petty from Davey Tree, who advises homeowners to get their property reviewed by an arborist, recently discussed what homeowners should know about trees on their property. “I’ve seen pretty much every major storm since 2007,” said Petty. “Hurricane Ike was the worst one I’ve seen personally, because it was rain with heavy winds pushing trees over. People should be aware of what they should do before and after a storm occurs.”An arborist is a person who has been certified by the International Society of Arboriculture. “If you have trees you’re concerned about, I would recommend homeowners hire a professional and determine how to make their property as safe as possible for any future weather event,” said Petty. Lone trees in residential areas are more susceptible to wind damage than trees that are part of a forested area. The first thing an arborist would do is decide if a tree in question is “healthy”; “in decline”; or “dead.” Dead trees should be removed at once because they are brittle and likely to fall. A tall, healthy tree with a full canopy and heavy branches might be prone to breakages. Trees weighed down by fruit or epiphytes such as ball moss or Spanish moss, like many Sugar Land trees, are also susceptible. “If you had the healthy tree cared for by a professional arborist, they could do some selective pruning or cable installation to reduce the likelihood of a storm breaking or splitting your tree,” Petty said. “After a storm, a trained eye could pick out all the safety issues — broken limbs, hanging limbs, split trunk sections, damaged or uplifted roots…”

Inverness, Scotland, UK, Daily Mail, September 28, 2020: Mansion owner wins legal battle against neighbour to keep 32ft trees

A mansion owner has won a legal battle to keep 32ft leylandii trees outside her property after the council failed to specify which plants had to be chopped down. Alessandra Dellantonio, who owns a listed 19th century home in Inverness, became embroiled in a feud with her neighbour Janice Gordon over the greenery. Ms Gordon had claimed her home was being plunged into darkness by leylandii and spruce trees beside her property. She then went to Highland Council and successfully used high hedge legislation to have the trees lopped to just 7ft. The council said the trees were causing an ‘unacceptable reduction’ of light and should be reduced in height. However, Mrs Dellantonio appealed the ruling with the Scottish Government. She argued the trees were protected under a legal order, were regularly attended to by tree surgeons and also afforded her privacy from her neighbour. Mrs Dellantonio also said the council had not made it clear which trees were to be cut down under the terms of their high hedge notice. It was claimed that cutting down the trees would also impact local wildlife such as roe deer, pine martens, tawny owls and buzzards. The Government said the trees were causing Miss Gordon a loss of amenity but overturned the council ruling after deciding it blundered when issuing a high hedge notice and failed to identify which trees had to come down…

BBC, September 28, 2020: Maple trees offer most protection from harmful UV

A species of maple tree offers the best protection from damaging ultraviolet rays of sunlight, a study has suggested. The crimson king (Acer platanoides) variety of maple tree came out as the most protective, closely followed by species of oak and a beech. Experts say trees can provide people with important protection against the harmful effects of UV radiation. The findings appear in the Urban Forestry & Urban Greening journal. It is the first study of its kind to be carried out in the Northern Hemisphere, say scientists. However, not all species of the same group of trees offer the same protection. Although, the crimson king maple was found to offer the most protection, another maple – Acer rubrum (red maple) – provided the least among the trees sampled…

Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen-Journal, September 28, 2020: Nature Journal: Black Gum trees

Black Gum grows throughout the eastern United States and is common in dry sites here in the Blue Ridge Province (often in oak and pine forests) up to 5,000 feet or more. Black Gum can be 100 feet tall. In the fall of the year from mid-September into late October, the leaves turn a noteworthy “blood” or “lipstick” red. Black Gum wood possesses an interlocked grain; so that, much like sycamore, it just about can’t be split, not even with wedges. Accordingly, the early settlers used the wood for mauls, tool handles, skid poles, and rough floors for outbuildings. Almost every other mature Black Gum that you will encounter here in the mountains is hollow. This is because the species is highly susceptible to heart rot fungi, an infection that occurs when aerially disseminated spores from various decay fungi are deposited on or near wounds, fire scars, or dead branch stubs. After the spores germinate, the fungi’s vegetative strands (mycelium) grow slowly into the vulnerable wood tissues. The fungi species that invades Black Gum trees attack only the tree’s central column of physiologically inactive (non-living) heartwood. An infected tree retains its outer vascular tissues for support and nutrient transport, but internally it becomes hollow…

Roanoke, Virginia, WDBJ-TV, September 26, 2020: Fall foliage could be the best in years, according to Virginia Tech tree expert

If you live in the Virginias for any length of time, you know there’s never a terrible year for fall foliage. However, some years are much better than others when it comes to vibrant colors. Fall 2019 was lackluster due to a hot summer that lingered into the fall. The 2018 fall season featured just the opposite — two tropical systems that kept us dark and rainy. This year, however, “could end up being one of the best fall seasons in years,” according to tree expert Dr. John Seiler, Professor of Tree Biology at Virginia Tech. The fact the trees change colors each autumn is a given. The big question is, just how vibrant will they be and when will the changes occur? In the fall, because of changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves part their gorgeous colors. This keeps going until all the leaves have changed colors, or the tree drops the leaves as it goes into dormancy. There are several ingredients that go into the color transformation each autumn. Some are related to sunlight, and others the weather…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, September 27, 2020: One dies as massive tree limb falls on picnickers in Burlingame

The massive branch fell in Washington Park, which is located near downtown Burlingame. Two people were hospitalized with “significant injuries,” Burlingame officials said in a Facebook post. The person who was killed was identified as a San Mateo resident. The victim’s name was not immediately released. “We express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the person who passed away and our wishes for a speedy recovery for the two people in the hospital,” officials wrote. People were asked to avoid the area of Carolan Avenue while authorities investigated…

Farmers’ Almanac, September 26, 2020: The Legend of Johnny Appleseed

John Chapman, better known as “Johnny Appleseed,” was born in Massachusetts on September 26, 1774, and September 26th is celebrated as Johnny Appleseed Day (along with March 11th, the day of his death). His father, Nathaniel Chapman was a Minuteman who fought in the Revolutionary War and served with General George Washington. John’s mother, Elizabeth, died shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed. Nathaniel Chapman remarried after the war and had 10 children. John and his half brother Nathaniel, Jr. journeyed west around 1792, just about five years after the Constitution was ratified. They lived as vagabonds, living off the land and taking odd jobs. Their father and siblings joined them in Ohio in 1805 where they started a family farm. Johnny Appleseed’s legend begins when John Chapman left the family farm and signed on as an apprentice for an orchardist named Crawford. After that, fact and fiction become intertwined. There are anecdotal reports of “Johnny Appleseed” appearing here and there over the middle Atlantic states, with key sightings in Pennsylvania. It’s likely that Chapman had combined his love of itinerant travel with his skills as an apple orchardist, and roamed the young United States looking for opportunity, locating landowners interested in planting apple orchards or starting cider mills…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, September 27, 2020: Bedford to pay $350,000, repeal ‘nuisance ordinance’ that ACLU said is discriminatory, adversely affects renters who call cops

The Cleveland suburb of Bedford will pay $350,000 and repeal a so-called “nuisance ordinance” that a federal lawsuit said was discriminatory against renters who are women, minorities and people with disabilities. The ordinance allowed officials to designate somebody a nuisance after someone was accused of breaking the law more than twice on a property or in the city within a year. The law applied even if the tenant was not the person at fault. The city informed the property owner – not the tenant – of the designation through a warning letter, which said subsequent violations could result in criminal penalties against the owner. The problem was that the ordinance did not differentiate between an offender and complainant, meaning that a tenant could suffer penalties for calling the police even if an incident was not the tenant’s fault, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court last year by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, the Fair Housing Center for Rights & Research and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. The suit said the ordinance violated the Fair Housing Act and was discriminatory. Following more than a year of litigation, the parties reached the settlement last week following negotiations done with a mediator. The city said it would repeal the ordinance 30 days after the settlement is final. It agreed last year not to enforce the law while the lawsuit was pending…

Everett, Washington, Herald, September 24, 2020: Poacher burned bees nest in tree, started 3,300-acre wildfire

A man involved in a timber poaching effort in Olympic National Forest that started a big wildfire has been sentenced to more than two years in prison. Shawn Williams, 49, pleaded guilty to theft of public property and setting timber afire charges in U.S. District Court in December 2019, The Kitsap Sun reported. Williams and Justin Wilke were charged last year for their roles in an illegal logging operation in the national forest in 2018 in which they and others felled maple trees and sold the wood to lumber mills, according to court documents. The type of maple is highly prized and used to produce musical instruments, prosecutors said. Williams, who lived in the Hood Canal area, cut the felled trees into rounds or blocks and sold them to a Tumwater mill under the false pretense that the wood had been cut on private land under permit, an indictment said. The “figured wood” was cut near Lena Lake in Jefferson County and Elk Lake in Mason County and sold for about $13,400 in the months leading up to the fire, court papers said. On Aug. 3, 2018, Wilke, Williams and an unknown person listed as “Person 2” in the indictment found a figured maple near the Elk Lake lower trailhead. They determined that a bees’ nest made it “difficult or impossible” to fell the tree. “After unsuccessfully attempting to remove the bees with wasp killer, Wilke, Williams and Person 2 agreed that Wilke would kill the bees by burning the nest,” the indictment said…

Mobile, Alabama, WALA-TV, September 24, 2020: Are your trees safe after Sally? Tree expert recommends getting them looked at

When Hurricane Sally hit the Gulf Coast, trees in our area took a beating. Thousands ended up on the ground after hours of ferocious winds. For the ones that are still standing, now is the time to act to make sure they are safe. “Half the tree fell on his house and the other half fell on our house,” said Oliver Dorgan. Sally’s winds hit hard. In neighborhoods throughout Mobile and Baldwin counties trees littered the ground. “I actually stayed up all night long watching the tree because I knew something was going to happen with the amount of wind we were having,” Dorgan said. With the storm gone, Peter Toler the City of Mobile Urban Forester says now is the time to check the trees that remain. “The one that is most concerning is a leaning tree, a crack that could be a multiplicity of reasons, but if you have a learning tree that wasn’t leaning before you have an issue,” he said. The focus should be on specific trees in your yard that could cause costly damage. Toler said that will save the most money in the end. “If a tree is over a house you want to gauge the likelihood of failure, the likelihood of contacting the target and the consequences associated with it,” he said. A green tree does not indicate a healthy tree and Toler said just because there is an issue does not mean it needs to be removed. He says cracks, hangers and split trees can also be a concern. “No tree is ever completely free of risk however a certified individual can guide you to lower that risk of that tree to an acceptable level,” he said…

University of California Master Gardeners of Stanislaus County, September 24, 2020: Early Fall Color in Trees May Mean Trouble

If you have an ash, Chinese pistache, crape myrtle, flowering pear, ginkgo, liquidambar or any other tree that is showing early fall color, pay attention. Early fall color may indicate that the tree is in trouble. Trees normally begin to show fall colors in late October, especially after a couple of cold nights. If you are seeing orange, yellow, red, burgundy, and purple leaves on deciduous trees this time of year, it’s a symptom of stress. You might not be able to do anything to correct the problem now, but much can be done to prevent a repeat next fall. First, determine the source of the stress and correct it. Look closely at the tree. Check for wounds on the trunk from mechanical injury or sunburn. If early fall color is the result of wounds, take steps to prevent further wounding. The trunks of young trees can be protected from string weeder damage with plastic sleeves. Better yet, place chip mulch on the soil around the tree to remove the temptation to mow or weed right up to the trunk. Determine if the tree is growing in a site where the roots may be restricted by pavement or buildings. Is it possible the roots were recently cut? Root disease, recent disruption to roots from construction or grade changes, surface soil compaction from vehicles or foot traffic and girdling roots can also cause trees to develop early fall color. If surface compaction is a problem, loosen the soil by cultivating to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. This should improve moisture and oxygen penetration. Follow up by watering the tree deeply…

AAUS EurekaAlert, September 24, 2020: Leading water scientists warn of risks in shift to monoculture crops, tree plantations

Conversion of large swaths of land to uniform tree plantations and single-crop species may lead to unintended consequences for the water cycle, putting ecosystems at greater risk for fires, floods, droughts and even hurricanes, warns a think-tank group of almost 30 water scientists from 11 countries. Worldwide, policies are increasingly aimed at planting more trees and crops both to combat climate change and increase food and fuel production. Already about 40 per cent of the world’s ice-free land surface has been converted to forestry and agriculture–often with only a few choice tree species and crops where biodiversity once thrived. This trend is poised to continue or even accelerate. But in an article published in Nature Geoscience, the scientists argue that mixed-species diversity is crucial to the water cycle pathways that enable soil-plant-water systems to recover quickly from environmental stresses. Forestry and agricultural monocultures (growing a single species repeatedly on the same land) can constrain these pathways, adversely affecting conditions such as soil moisture and erosion, streamflow, evaporation, and groundwater quality–and ultimately reducing ecological resilience…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star-Tribune, September 23, 2020: St. Paul will cut down thousands of ash trees next year but can’t afford replanting

St. Paul’s urban forest will take a beating next year, when the city plans to chop down 3,000 ash trees without planting anything in their place. After more than a decade of scrambling to keep up with the invasive emerald ash borer, the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department is expecting to fall further behind in 2021 as it trims spending to help fill a nearly $20 million citywide budget shortfall. In a budget presentation to the City Council on Wednesday, Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm called the lack of resources for tree planting in 2021 “a pretty dramatic change. It is not ideal,” he said. St. Paul has removed nearly 16,000 ash trees from its right of way since emerald ash borer was discovered in 2009 — the first documented infestation in the state. Today, more than 11,000 ash trees remain; to cut them down, grind up their stumps and plant new trees would cost nearly $20 million, or about half the department’s total budget. Heading into 2021, the plan is to cut down 3,000 trees a year over three years, plus another 2,300 in 2024. Planting will begin again in 2022, with 630 trees…

Reuters, September 23, 2020: Tree-planting rush overlooks climate benefits from natural forest recovery

Leaving cleared tropical forests to regrow naturally has the potential to absorb a quarter of global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels each year, researchers said on Wednesday. A study led by the World Resources Institute (WRI), a U.S.-based think-tank, looked at and mapped the potential carbon-storing benefits of letting cut forests recover on their own. To meet national climate pledges, many countries have launched big tree-planting programmes, signing up to high-profile schemes like the Bonn Challenge. But some deforested areas in the tropics may benefit more from allowing them to regrow naturally – which is often cheaper and more likely to benefit native wildlife, the study said. The approach could absorb 8.9 billion metric tonnes of carbon each year through to 2050 – much higher than previously thought, said WRI researchers. That is on top of the carbon sponge already provided by existing forests, which absorb about 30% of planet-heating emissions, mainly generated by burning fossil fuels, each year

New York City, The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2020: Stand on Precedent. That’s a Good Boy!

Among the portraits of former justices that hang in the Missouri Supreme Court building in Jefferson City stands the bust of a hound dog named Old Drum. The sculpture isn’t meant as a homage to a canine. Rather, it is a tribute to a lawyer. Old Drum was shot to death 150 years ago in Johnson County, Mo. His owner, Charles Burden, filed a lawsuit against Leonidas Hornsby, his neighbor and brother-in-law, whom he suspected of orchestrating the killing. Hornsby had lost numerous sheep to dog attacks and promised to kill the first stray that appeared on his property. George Graham Vest, a 39-year-old lawyer, represented Burden. On Sept. 23, 1870, Vest delivered one of the most enduring arguments ever performed in a courtroom. The speech is notable for what it is lacking: any mention of Old Drum or the violent act that led to his death. Instead, Vest delivered a eulogy to all dogs. He told jurors that “the one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground . . . if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer…”

Detroit, Michigan, Free Press, September 22, 2020: Joshua trees protected under the California Endangered Species Act in historic vote

In a likely precedent-setting decision, the California Fish and Game Commission on Tuesday voted 4-0 to approve the western Joshua tree for the next stage of protection under the California Endangered Species Act. This marks the first time the state law has been used to give protection to a species that is mainly threatened by climate change. The species — one of two varieties of the iconic desert megaflora — is facing habitat loss due to warming temperatures that are pushing the ecosystems where it thrives farther north and into higher elevations. Scientists predict that Joshua Tree National Park could be devoid of its namesake plant by the end of the century. The western Joshua tree now receives protection under the act for the next year as the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife studies whether the species is indeed at enough risk to need full listing as threatened. At the federal level, Joshua trees were denied protection under the Endangered Species Act, a decision that is being challenged in federal court by environmental group WildEarth Guardians…

Do It Yourself, September 22, 2020: How to grow trees from seed

Growing trees from seed can be an interesting adventure for the amateur and expert gardener, alike. It’s exciting enough to see a small seed germinate into a flower or vegetable, just imagine watching trees mature knowing that you planted and nursed them from seed! Fruit and nut trees are wonderful edible additions to your garden, whereas woody and flowering varieties can add character, and much needed shade. While there are some downfalls to the process, growing trees from seed can be an interesting, educational, and rewarding experience. Read on to find out how! Before you begin to sow any seeds, you’ll want to decide what kind of trees and how many you would like to have. Find trees that are suitable for your land. Do some research and make sure your climate, soil pH, and land restrictions are compatible with the trees you want to grow. Most citrus trees won’t flourish in cooler climates, for example, but apple and cherry trees may thrive. Try not to fight with nature, or tamper with soil too much. Grow trees that want to live where you live. That’s the best way to ensure tree longevity, and healthy produce for decades to come. The cheapest way to get seeds is to gather them yourself. Choose local varieties, since you know they already grow in your area. Make sure to sort and clean them, and store properly until needed. …

Reuters, September 22, 2020: Aiming to be carbon-neutral? Don’t rely on planting trees, scientists say

Taking better care of nature could absorb many more climate-changing emissions – but will only work if big companies simultaneously slash their own emissions and focus on boosting biodiversity, not just planting trees, scientists warned. “It’s vitally important to understand this potential can only be achieved with rapid and aggressive decarbonisation,” said Nathalie Seddon, who directs the Nature-Based Solutions Initiative at Britain’s University of Oxford. A broad range of companies, including some fossil fuel firms, are now promoting and adopting tree planting and other “nature-based solutions” as a smart and easy-to-grasp way to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. More than 560 companies, including giants such as tech titan Microsoft and retailer Walmart, on Monday urged governments to put in place stronger policies to protect nature and fight climate change, and guide business efforts toward those goals. Many of the companies, part of the Business for Nature coalition, said at New York Climate Week events that they were pressing ahead with their own green actions, from adopting clean energy to offsetting their carbon emissions by adding trees…

Public News Service, September 22, 2020: Are Trees the Key to a Sustainable Building Future?

Michigan is in a unique position to capitalize on innovative building technology that can improve the environment. Mass timber is created from smaller pieces of wood, such as two-by-fours, that are glued together to create beams, floors and other load-bearing building structures. Michigan State University’s new STEM Teaching and Learning Facility is the first building in the state to use mass timber. Richard Kobe, professor and chair of the Department of Forestry at MSU, said the material is a more sustainable and carbon-friendly alternative to steel and concrete construction. “One thousand, eight hundred and fifty six metric tons of carbon that’s contained in that building,” Kobe said. “And when the trees were growing, they took that carbon out of the atmosphere and now this is a long-term mechanism for storing that carbon that will keep it out of the atmosphere.” A virtual tour of the building will take place today during the Michigan Mass Timber Summit. The event will be held online over three sessions, and will examine the costs and benefits of mass timber projects, design and logistics, building codes and construction. Dave Neumann, forest products utilization and marketing specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Forest Resources Division, said with about 60% of Michigan covered in forest, there’s great potential for mass timber building components to be sourced from the state in the future…

Seattle, Washington, Times, September 19, 2020: Science offers compelling theories for the mysteries of our tallest trees, but their majesty requires no research — just appreciation

HAVE YOU EVER wondered how trees get water all the way to their tops? Or what limits the height of a tree? I mean, some western red cedars and Douglas firs get over 200 feet tall, but why don’t they get even taller? Given that our region is home to several of the tallest tree species on the planet, I thought I should investigate. The coast redwood is generally considered the tallest tree species on Earth. The current record-holding individual is a specimen in Northern California, known as Hyperion, which tops out around 380 feet. Though we don’t have any redwoods, our native trees are still world-class giants. Washington state is home to Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, noble fir, western hemlock, ponderosa pine and grand fir — all of which rate in the top 30 tallest tree species in the world. In fact, two of the largest known specimens in the world live in our state: a noble fir growing in the Cascades and a grand fir in the Olympics. So is there a limit to how tall a tree can grow? Researchers studying the coastal redwoods think so, and suggest the answer might lie around 400 to 430 feet. They believe the height of a tree is ultimately restricted at this height as the pull of gravity and the friction between water and the vessels it flows through make any further growth impossible. This is known as the hydraulic limitation hypothesis…

Phys.org, September 21, 2020: Mixed-species tree stands adapt better than pure stands

Firs and spruces dominate the tree population of the Black Forest with a share of 80 percent. However, such predominantly pure stands are particularly vulnerable to extreme events caused by climate change, such as storm damage, heat waves, and bark beetle infestations. In Baden-Württemberg, on average, every third tree is already sick. A conversion from pure to mixed stands could increase the resistance of forests. The potential benefits also include greater biodiversity, long-term economic efficiency, and stability. This is the result of a study by KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) for which experts from forestry, silviculture, and tourism were interviewed. “The natural adaptability of monospecific forests to persistent hot, dry weather periods alternating with heavy rainfall is relatively low,” says Dr. Christine Rösch, head of the Sustainable Bioeconomy Research Group at the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) of KIT. “However, there is an urgent need to improve the adaptability of forest ecosystems to weather events, as stress due to climate change increases and occurs in much shorter periods than before so that the usual regeneration cycles can no longer make up for it…”

Boise, Idaho, KTVB-TV, September 21, 2020: Hazard tree mitigation efforts from Trap Creek Fire begin along Highway 21

The Trap Creek Fire, located about nine miles northwest of Stanley on the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, is currently burning at 2,211 acres and is 25% contained. It was first reported on September 14. 148 personnel are currently assigned to the fire. A cold front over the weekend brought rain that cleared the heavy smoke from the fire and provided relief for firefighters and the community. Wind, warm temperatures and dry conditions are expected today and could increase fire activity. Hazard tree mitigation began along Highway 21 on Monday is is expected to last for two to three days. A forest area closure is in effect for the area around the fire and was expanded on Saturday to include Valley Creek Road. This includes all roads, trails, campgrounds, and hunting units within the closure. The purpose of this order is to protect the public and firefighters during wildfire activity suppression activities…

CNN, September 21, 2020: A Florida woman was attacked by a 10-foot alligator while trimming trees

A Florida woman is recovering from injuries she received when she was attacked by a 10-foot, 4-inch alligator while trimming trees in Fort Myers. The 27-year-old woman was trimming by the edge of a lake near a country club on September 10 when the alligator bit her. She was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital and treated for injuries to both legs, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The FWC said it is still investigating the incident. A few days later, on September 13, a man suffered injuries to his leg when he was bitten by an alligator while walking his dog along a residential canal in Port St. Lucie, the FWC said. The 8-foot, 3-inch alligator that bit him was removed and transferred to an alligator farm. CNN affiliate WPTV reported that Mark Johnson, 61, said the alligator clamped onto his leg and was trying to drag him under water. When Johnson poked the alligator in the eye, the reptile let go, he said. “I kind of slide and my foot is stuck in the mud, and the next thing I know, I see the lunge,” Johnson told WPTV. “He starts clamping down pretty tight and he started to pull, and the next thing I do, I instantly, here’s my fingers, I poke through the eye.”Johnson received 62 stitches and his dog was unhurt, WPTV reported…

Hampton, Virginia, WVEC-TV, September 21, 2020: Time to go nuts! Yes, the Virginia Department of Forestry is asking for acorns from your yard

The Virginia Department of Forestry, known for developing healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians, is seeking 12 species of acorns and nuts that can be planted at its Augusta Forestry Center in Crimora, Virginia to help cultivate the forests of tomorrow. The department hopes to use the acorns and nuts to grow into tree seedlings. The hardwood crop will then be sold to Virginia’s forestland owners to build their future forests. Each year, VDOF asks the public from across the state to collect and donate nuts of select species to be planted at the state nursery. Seedlings developed from Virginia-grown seed generally produce trees that will best thrive in our state’s climates. Protocols and guidelines for acorn collection remain mostly the same as last year, with some minor adjustments to the collection deadline and species list. During September and early October, it is easy to pick up nuts in many yards and parking lots. Try to avoid trees in more heavily forested areas because there may be different species of trees nearby, making it difficult to sort the nuts by species for proper planting. The species the tree nursery needs this year are black oak, black walnut, Chinese chestnut, chestnut oak, live oak, northern red oak, pin oak, southern red oak, swamp chestnut oak, swamp white oak, white oak and willow oak…

Spokane, Washington, Spokesman-Review, September 19, 2020: Tree on power line likely cause of fire that destroyed Malden, Pine City

A tree that made contact with an Avista Utilities power line on the southern edge of Spokane County appears to have started the Babb Road Fire, which raced through nearly 15 miles of dry brush and timber during an intense Sept. 7 windstorm, destroying the vast majority of homes in Malden and Pine City. The Spokesman-Review on Thursday located a partially burned pine tree that had been cut down with chainsaws, lying beside a row of recently replaced Avista distribution poles in the area where residents first reported seeing smoke. In an email Friday, Avista spokeswoman Casey Fielder said “we can confirm that the tree in question made contact with the lines, and appears to be the area where the fire started.” Avista also released a public statement Friday saying it has learned of instances where “otherwise healthy trees and limbs, located in areas outside its maintenance right-of-way, broke under the extraordinary wind conditions and caused damage to its energy delivery system.” However, the company said it “has not found any evidence that the fires were caused by any deficiencies in its equipment, maintenance activities or vegetation management practices.” Avista said it is cooperating with ongoing investigations by the state Department of Natural Resources, and it’s coordinating with the agency on fire suppression efforts…

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Argus Leader, September 19, 2020: Ash tree removal in Brandon will begin in October

The emerald ash borer has been causing havoc on ash trees in the United States. The beetle is native to Asia but was transplanted to North America. Since its discovery in the United States in 2002, it has spread across the eastern portion of the country and is now found in 33 states. Count South Dakota as one of them. The larvae of the insect is what causes most of the damage, feeding on the inner bark of the tree and eventually killing it. Although there hasn’t been a discovery in Brandon, there has been plenty in Sioux Falls and the city is in the middle of a 10-year plan to eradicate the problem. A blue No. 9 is spray painted on the side of ash trees in Sioux Falls, and last year alone, the city removed one-third of the trees in the city. Brandon parks superintendent Devin Coughlin said it’s only a matter of time before Brandon sees an infection, so the city is taking a preemptive strike to slow any spread…

Washington, D.C., Post, September 20, 2020: Ever wondered why trees ditch their leaves each fall?

Autumn arrives this week, and that means pumpkins, football and piles of fresh, crackly leaves. Did you ever wonder why trees throw away an important part of their anatomy each year? After all, wouldn’t it be similar to people losing all their hair — or even weirder, their skin — just as our part of the world gets colder? While it might seem strange from the point of view of a human, to a plant, losing leaves makes perfect sense. Trees are solar-powered. Each leaf is loaded with a pigment called chlorophyll, which absorbs light and helps convert water and carbon dioxide into energy. The process is called photosynthesis. But there’s a problem. In parts of the world that experience seasons, winter means less and less sunlight each day. It also comes with biting cold that can freeze the liquids inside leaves. These two factors hamper the tree’s ability to make energy. A full-grown oak tree might have more than 60,000 leaves, and each one requires valuable nutrients. So when fall turns into winter, trees discharge their leaves as a cost-cutting measure. If it had to spend resources on all those leaves through the winter, not only would the leaves freeze, but the tree would die. However, evergreen trees have a different strategy, says Mason Heberling, assistant curator of botany at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Instead of dropping and regrowing their leaves each year, pine trees and other evergreens evolved short, thick “leaves” that can withstand winter’s wrath. Of course, we call them “needles…”

Loganville, Georgia, Patch, September 20, 2020: Gwinnett Woman Walking Dog Dies When Tree Falls On Her

A 71-year-old Snellville woman was one of three Georgians killed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally when a tree fell on her Lynn Alice Trapp was walking her dog Thursday morning near her home on Capot Court in unincorporated Snellville when the tree came down. Gwinnett rescue crews responded to a report of a fallen tree before they realized someone was pinned under it, according to Gwinnett fire Captain Tommy Rutledge as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Trapp died at the scene, and her dog was taken for treatment. On Wednesday, 30-year-old Gerald Crawford died of his injuries after a century-old oak tree fell on his house in southwest Atlanta. Crawford’s family had recently called the city of Atlanta to have the tree removed after a branch fell and damaged a parked vehicle. Trees like that “are getting near the end of their life cycle,” said Jason Hudgins, president of the Westview community organization, to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Whenever there’s a storm, we put people in our community on alert because we do have the problem…”

Detroit, Michigan, News, September 17, 2020: You may be cleaning up in the bathroom using an old-growth tree

With everyone spending more time at home, demand for residential toilet paper is way up. That’s bad news for the world’s oldest forests. Unlike the industrial rolls found in many offices and restaurants, the cushy TP Americans love for their own bathrooms is made almost entirely of trees cut from virgin forests. Procter & Gamble Co. – maker of Charmin, the country’s most popular brand – has defended the practice in part by saying it plants a tree for every one it cuts down. It also pays to protect trees in other parts of the world as a way of offsetting some of its greenhouse gas emissions. But carbon accounting isn’t that simple. Forests store carbon in the soil, not just in trees, and that isn’t so easily replaced. A rundown of how the major manufacturers treat their trees: Procter & Gamble Brand: Charmin. Made from virgin forest? Yes. Replants trees? Yes, 1:1. Buys carbon offsets? Yes, but not to cover emissions from TP. The company says: “Every decision we make is guided by what’s best for consumers and the environment. P&G has committed to using recycled fibers where it can have the most benefit for our consumers.” – P&G spokesperson…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, WHYY, September 18, 2020: Philadelphia’s tree cover is vanishing. Here’s how you can help.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society recently launched its third “More Trees Please” fundraising campaign — a campaign desperately needed to keep the city Tree Tender crews planting saplings and growing our green canopy. The campaign undoubtedly will help Philadelphia strengthen its urban forest and reverse long-standing environmental inequities.Yet despite these laudable efforts and those of the city’s Tree Philly programs, our city continues to lose tree canopy faster than we can replant it, even prior to the current crisis. Per the Philadelphia Tree Canopy Assessment Report released in December 2019, between 2008 and 2018, we lost approximately 6% of our urban tree canopy. The report states that much of the canopy loss has occurred in park space — this loss will likely accelerate due to ash trees succumbing to the Emerald Ash Borerand weakened by the spotted lanternfly, losses from increased storm severity as our climate becomes hotter and wetter. Then there’s street tree attrition due to development-related construction. The reduced canopy coverage has largely coincided with the only period in decades when the city has gained population and experienced an increase in construction activity…

Orlando, Florida, WKMG-TV, September 17, 2020: Forecasting Change: Breaking down the benefits of trees

Trees are nature’s way of cooling off. Everyone knows the the benefit of shade, but trees also help reduce heat by pulling water up through their roots and releasing it into the air through leaves. Trees, shrubs and grass all help to reduce storm water runoff. Even mangroves help to slow down storm surge in a land-falling hurricane. Check out these graphics that show how much trees aid the environment. In areas where trees and vegetation have been removed for buildings, parking lots and other development, we have what is called a “heat island effect.” All of that concrete, pavement and brick absorb heat during the day and then releases it overnight. This link shows where areas near cities are warmer than the average for the surrounding area as a whole. Check it out to see if you live in a heat island and think about the trees, water and the heat any time you see development…

Patch-Ohio, September 17, 2020: Mentor: Talking About Trees

Trees and shrubs are an attractive and important asset to any property. In addition to their aesthetic benefits, they help improve air quality, reduce storm water runoff, and help reduce energy costs. Property owners are reminded that they are responsible for the maintenance of all trees, shrubs, and hedges on their property; including those on the tree lawn. As per Mentor City Ordinance, trees along roadways must be trimmed to a height of 14 feet above the road surface so that school buses and other vehicles can safely pass by. Trees should be trimmed to a height of at least 7 feet above the sidewalks, and bushes and shrubs should be trimmed to a height of no more than 3 feet adjacent to the Right of Way, so that walkers, joggers, and bicyclists can pass by unimpeded. Trees that are dead or weakened as a result of age or disease are a danger to you and others. Falling limbs can cause significant property damage as well as loss of life. And, property owners may be financially responsible for damage caused by limbs that fall on their neighbor’s property if those limbs have been identified as being a potential danger, and if the owner has been asked to address the problem by the City…

Portland, Oregon, Oregonian, September 16, 2020: ‘Hundreds of thousands of trees’ need to be removed along Oregon 22; nearly 300 miles of state highways closed indefinitely

Nearly 300 miles of roads remain closed across Oregon with no timetable for reopening and “hundreds of thousands” of trees need to be removed along Oregon 22 alone before highways are safe for travel. That’s according to the Oregon Department of Transportation, which released preliminary information Wednesday showing how significantly intrastate travel could be affected by the wildfires for months to come. Wildfires are still burning in several sections of the state, and fire officials have said that some of the blazes will continue burning until heavy rains come later this year. According to a new transportation map released this week, nearly a dozen highways are closed entirely, many for long stretches. The closures will impact travel across the Cascade Mountains in several key spots – with Oregon 138, Oregon 22, Oregon 126 and Oregon 242 all closed at critical spots with no timetable for reopening. Those roads are key arteries connecting Roseburg, Salem and the Eugene-Springfield areas to Central Oregon. U.S. 20 and U.S. 26 remain open, as does Oregon 58, which connects the Eugene area to U.S. 97. As of Wednesday afternoon, roughly 281 miles of highway are closed due to wildfire damage, or roughly the distance on Interstate 5 between Portland and Medford. “It’s fair to say this is a whole new level of damage,” Katherine Benenati, a transportation department spokesperson, said in an email. “These are some of the most hazardous conditions and some of the most widespread damage we’ve seen in years…”

Huntington, West Virginia, Herald-Dispatch, September 16, 2020: Cicadas will soon erupt again. Prepare your trees for the invasion.

If past is prologue, then one night next May, a funny-looking insect – plump, brown, hunched – will emerge from the ground, crawl up the nearest vertical perch and cast off its mantle. Within an hour or two, the periodical cicada will fill out to its adult form, with beady red eyes and glassy wings framed with orange ribs. Soon thereafter, hundreds, thousands, millions more cicadas will join the creature for one of the natural world’s most bizarre spectacles: a six-week bacchanalian feast of loud music, acrobatics and, yes, sex, stretching from Georgia to New York. Before this wonder fades for another 17 years, there will be a couple of lingering reminders that this wasn’t some surreal dream. The garden will be littered with the carcasses of three species of spent cicadas. More ominously, the ends of the branches of shrubs and trees will begin to droop and turn brown. The female cicada lays eggs in slits she has cut in thin branches. This ensures that the ensuing hatchling nymphs will drop and burrow into soil laced with tree roots, for they feed off the root sap. The egg-laying also means that branches from the point of injury to their tips will probably die back. On big old oaks or hickories, the resulting branch flagging is unsightly, but it’s a temporary eyesore that the tree will outgrow. But for young, small trees, the dieback can harm the tree’s future and desired shape by pruning twigs destined to become its main branches. In extreme cases, the wounds can allow disease to move into the tree and kill it. The female cicadas prefer branches that are roughly between one-quarter and one-half of an inch in diameter, and each individual makes several cuts. “For trees planted in the past four years, you may want to consider protecting,” said Stephanie Adams, plant health care leader at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill. Young redbuds, crab apples and cherry trees are among the types of trees that are at risk…

New York City, The New York Times, September 16, 2020: This Tree’s Leaves Look Soft and Inviting. Please Don’t Touch Them.

The lore that shrouds Australia’s giant stinging trees, of the genus Dendrocnide, is perhaps as dubious as it is vast. Tales abound of nightmarish encounters with the hypodermic-needle-like hairs of its leaves injecting a toxin that drives men to madness and has prompted horses to hurl themselves off cliffs. Some of these stories are centuries old and cannot be verified. But as Edward Gilding can attest, these legends contain at least one lick of truth: the absolute agony of being stabbed by the fine, downy hairs that adorn the leaves and stems of Dendrocnide. The trees, which can grow taller than 100 feet, are found throughout the rain forests of eastern Australia, where they are known to torment hikers. “It’s like having a nail shoved into your flesh,” said Dr. Gilding, a biologist at the University of Queensland and self-described sting connoisseur. The sting from the trees’ hairs also has immense staying power, doling out anguish in waves for hours or days. Some anecdotes have reported intermittent pain lasting months; a few especially bad stings have even landed people in the hospital…

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, September 16, 2020: Nevada City Group Sitting In Trees To Protect Them From Being Cut Down By PG&E

Some people in Nevada City are going to new heights to stop PG&E from cutting down trees. These protesters are not marching, but climbing to make sure one tree, in particular, does not get chopped down. Pitts and others are doing this for a particular reason.“What’s happening is we are having a lot of trees taken out unnecessarily, completely thoughtlessly. Like just making a huge mess; taking away our heritage,” Pitts said. That heritage is heritage trees. PG&E said some trees have to go because they’re too close to power lines and pose a fire risk. “Part of it is obviously to protect the number of the heritage trees that are here. We’re concerned about the trees that are not really presenting a threat in themselves,” Lorraine Nauman, a tree protester, said. “This particular tree was planted 160 years ago by one of the original tree foundation members in the county here,” Pitts said. Pitts told CBS13 that the tree they climbed to protect from being cut down is an Atlas cedar spruce. It’s not native to the Nevada City area. PG&E said 263 trees are marked to be cut down in Nevada City to provide shorter, smaller and smart Public Safety Power Shutoffs. But instead of cutting down, many want the utility to look down and put their power lines underground. “Undergrounding, in this case, is not a panacea to all of the problems,” Brandi Merlo, PG&E spokesperson, said. “It’s still subject to its own issues including weather impacts, dig in potential, lightning strikes…”

New York City, WCBS-TV, September 15, 2020: Homeowners In Roslyn In Tree Fight With PSEG Long Island Over High Voltage Wires

Homeowners in one North Shore community are in the midst of a tree fight with their utility over high voltage wires and tilting power poles.Families say PSEG Long Island is responsible for maintaining safe easements in their back yards. Down the street from Roslyn High School, Overlook Terrace has 34 homes with backyard PSEG Long Island easements containing power poles. They hold, among other wires, cables so strong they can electrocute. One of homeowner Cary Ratner’s 60 foot tall maples is in a precarious position. “I have a tree that’s a real peril,” Ratner said. “I tried to get a tree surgeon, three of them. They won’t go near. It’s too close to the high voltage. It’s 13,000 volts.” Next door, Jeffrey Kane’s 65 foot elm tree is also bending amid the high voltage wires, which is located on the right of way maintained, according to law, by PSEG Long Island. A stiff wind in hurricane season could topple branches. “That’s the problem. I am concerned that it will be dangerous,” Kane said…

Tallahassee, Florida, Democrat, September 15, 2020: It’s raining squirrels: They’re cute, clever and falling from trees

Imagine its terror when a gust of wind whips a baby out of its snug nest to free fall through the air and then slam into the ground. If it’s lucky, it lands on rain-softened earth, not asphalt. St. Francis Wildlife is caring for 175 of these babies now, with more arriving every day. This is peak baby squirrel season. Every afternoon storm blows baby squirrels from their treetop nests. Tree trimmers also unknowingly cut down their homes. Squirrels are a paradox. They can be destructive, annoying pests. But they are also intelligent, curious, agile, and yes, valuable. Because all the little nut and seed treasures they squirrel away are never dug up, squirrels provide us with free gardening services and invaluable timber resources. With a little effort and ingenuity, we can learn to live in harmony with these resourceful little neighbors that have managed to survive on this continent for 36 million years…

Chicago, Illinois, Sun Times, September 15, 2020: Chicago is a leader in planting trees for the environment, but ComEd crews ruin them

The Sun-Times editorial California’s wildfires and Chicago’s derecho reveal cascading damage of climate change is spot on! We should not feel helpless, though, because we can move Illinois in the right direction during the current clear climate change crisis. Chicago has been a leader in reducing carbon emissions by planting some 300,000 trees over the last two decades. With the destruction of 7,300 trees throughout the city and county, we need to step up. Change always begins at the local level. Our neighborhood group, the Edgewater Glen Association, has partnered with Open Lands and received 11 trees to replant after the unprecedented derecho storm. For years our group has focused on tree replanting for every tree removed because of aging or disease. However, as ComEd sends out chainsaw crews to cut back trees encroaching on power lines, we have witnessed a very anti-environmental approach. Untrained ComEd crews have butchered mature trees so badly that they reduce the trees’ lives to less than five years…

Moon Crew, September 15, 2020: The story of a tree falling in Houston

I have watched this video — counting conservatively — over 500 times in the last 24 hours. Listen to that “ohhhhhhhh.” Even before he hits the “goddammit,” this amateur tree surgeon is yelling to God from his doomed heels. That is a cry from the soul to this cursed earth: Why have you turned against me, giver of life? Why has that which brought shade and life now become a swift hammer of a cruel justice beyond my understanding? What is that man with the rope supposed to be doing here, exactly? The “goddammit” — full-throated, delivered from a place of total despair in a raspy yowl best described as something between Yosemite Sam and an irate South Park yokel — only seals a universal moment. It is when fate finds a check written with your stupidity, and also the moment when fate decides to cash that check with such force, it overdrafts you straight into hell. First, know this: The screaming man in the video is not dropping a tree onto his own house. That house belongs to Matt Bieniek’s family. I spoke with him yesterday over the phone, after he saw his own house being assaulted on the internet by poorly executed tree surgery…

U.S. News and World Report, September 14, 2020: Explainer: How This Year’s Destructive U.S. West Wildfire Season Came to Be

Dozens of conflagrations have raged across more than 5 million acres (1.6 million hectares) in Oregon, California and Washington state since August, laying waste to several small towns, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 35 people. The region’s increasingly dry and overgrown forests have become large-scale tinderboxes over decades while wildfires have become more frequent, more intense and more deadly. Here’s why. U.S President Donald Trump blames poor forest management – mainly a failure to cull overgrown forests – for the increasing number and intensity of fires. The governors of California and Oregon – the states worst hit this season – say climate change is largely responsible. Scientists say both factors are at work. Starting in the early 1900s, wildfires were fought aggressively and suppressed, which led to a build-up of dead trees and brush in forested areas. That means more fuel for bigger, more intense and damaging wildfires. But changes in climate and weather patterns — warming temperatures, periods of drought and erratic rains – also are causes. “We don’t want to minimize the impact of climate because it’s significant already and because it’s growing in the future,” said Dan Cayan, a climate researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. The region generally experienced a relatively dry winter, leaving forests particularly dessicated and vulnerable to extreme heat that materialized in August. Dry, gusty winds, known as Santa Ana in Southern California and Diablo in Northern California, contributed to the fires’ rapid spread…

Providence, Rhode Island, Journal, September 14, 2020: Microscopic worm poses big threat to R.I.’s beech trees

A disease that can be deadly to beech trees was found for the first time in Rhode Island this summer, threatening thousands of the trees known for their smooth, silver-gray bark. A homeowner in the Ashaway village of Hopkinton contacted the state Department of Environmental Management in June after noticing something was wrong with the beech trees on her property. A DEM forester and Heather Faubert, a University of Rhode Island plant scientist, visited the site in the southwest part of the state and confirmed that the trees were afflicted with beech leaf disease. Discovered in Ohio in 2012, the disease has spread to Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario. It was found in Connecticut last year and this summer in Massachusetts, too. After the initial discovery of the disease at the home in Ashaway, Faubert, who coordinates the URI Plant Protection Clinic, found it spread throughout a nearby beech forest in an area off Route 91. Thousands of trees there showed the telltale signs of the disease: unnatural stripes between the veins of their leaves. Many of the leaves withered, yellowed and died as a result of the damage and the trees were forced to expend vital energy during the hottest and driest part of the year to leaf out a second time. A tree can do that only so many years in a row before the stress can kill it. The disease can spread to American beech trees, the species native to the Eastern United States and southeastern Canada, as well as European beech trees, an imported variety found on the grounds of mansions in Newport and other places. It can also affect Oriental beech trees…

Colorado Springs, Colorado, Gazette, September 15, 2020: What you’re really doing when carving an aspen tree in Colorado

To carve an aspen tree — to take a blade to the trunk for the sake of your initials, for example — is to do harm. Harm to a being with a life expectancy much like our own: 100 years, if we’re lucky. To leave your mark, “it may sound cool,” says Dan West, an aspen expert with the Colorado State Forest Service. “But that tree might not survive because of what you’re doing.” A cut to the human arm is a possible portal for infection. Same for an aspen tree. Though the risk might be greater in aspen, considering “aspen are one of the most diseased and infected trees in North America,” West says. Otherwise, yes, a wound to our body is much like a wound to Colorado’s favorite tree of autumn. On our travels to behold the golden displays, we’ve all seen it. Gashed groves. White bark disrupted by black scars that look nothing like nature’s doing. There’s someone’s name. There’s someone’s message that doesn’t matter. There’s some date marking what might be some romantic occasion. There’s a heart housing the names Megan and Jon. Paul Rogers, director of the Western Aspen Alliance based at Utah State University, came by this one once. A harsh revision was made — an “X” over “Megan” and a message above: “MEGAN IS A SKANK.” “It didn’t work out over time, their relationship, apparently,” Rogers says. But the advocate scientist cares not for such drama. Nor do the trees care for our drama and whatever vain impulses lead us to scarring their skin. It’s a particularly thin skin. That’s what makes aspen particularly susceptible. “Because of the thin skin,” Rogers says…

Fastcompany, September 14, 2020: This tool is mapping every tree in California to help stop megafires

If you zoom in on a new map of California, you’ll start to see that the fields of green that represent the forest are actually made up of individual green points, and each point represents a real, individual tree. The tool, called the California Forest Observatory, uses AI and satellite images to create an ultradetailed view of the state’s forests—aiding work to prevent the type of catastrophic megafires that the state is experiencing now. Scientists at Salo Sciences, a startup that works on technology for natural climate solutions, began creating the tool after interviewing dozens of experts in California about the state’s challenges with wildfires: They need more detailed, up-to-date information about the forests so they can better predict how fast and in what direction fires will spread, and remove the most hazardous fuels. Even the rough satellite maps that exist now are often three years out of date, making it hard for agencies to plan their work. The new tool will be updated annually after the fire season ends, if not more often. Firefighters can use the tool to predict how current fires may spread as they’re burning. But just as critically, the state can also use the map to plan forest management to prevent future megafires. “What we really found was California more than anything has a vegetation and fuel load problem,” says David Marvin, cofounder and CEO of Salo Sciences. “This has occurred because, for the last century, we’ve been suppressing wildfire, and we’ve gotten really good at doing so. CalFire, the state fire agency, puts out something like 96% of fires, and we have thousands of them every year…”

Los Angeles, California, Times, September 13, 2020: 150 million dead trees could fuel unprecedented firestorms in the Sierra Nevada

Two years ago scientists warned that a massive tree die-off in the Sierra Nevada could set the stage for forest conflagrations akin to World War II fire bombings. The Creek fire, which forced the dramatic helicopter evacuations of more than 200 campers over Labor Day weekend in California, may be a hint of far worse to come in future years. It is burning in the Sierra National Forest, an epicenter of the bark beetle attacks that killed nearly 150 million drought-stressed trees during the last decade. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that dead stands in the Creek fire contain 2,000 tons of fuel per acre. As of Saturday, the fire had charred more than 196,000 acres, destroyed 365 structures and was threatening 14,000 more in the vicinity of Big Creek, Huntington Lake and Shaver Lake. Firefighters don’t expect to contain it until mid-October. For those who have studied the potential fire effects of the vast beetle kill, the Creek fire is a harbinger. “I don’t want to be alarmist. But I think the conditions are there,” said Scott Stephens, a UC Berkeley professor of fire science and lead author of a 2018 paper that raised the specter of future mass forest fires as intense as the Dresden, Germany, and Tokyo firebombings…

Inc. magazine, September 13, 2020: This Company Sends Foresters Into the Woods to Prevent Wildfires–and Save Lives

The devastating wildfires that swept through Northern California in recent years have left a new problem in their wake: dead trees that threaten people, roads, and gas and water lines. Enter American Tree Medics, which hit the 2020 Inc. 5000 with more than $2 million in 2019 revenue. The family-owned company uses a team of arborists and foresters to perform 15-minute diagnostic evaluations–factoring in each tree’s species, age, and other characteristics–and decide which ones need to be cut down. “Time is critical in these situations,” says co-founder and CEO Heidi Britt. The Modesto, California-based company earned $2.1 million last year from clients including the city of Santa Rosa and Butte County, site of the deadliest wildfire in California’s history, 2018’s Camp Fire. Employees use tape measures, magnifying glasses, hatchets, and other tools to give each tree a health score. Removing dead, dried-out trees can improve the overall health of the forest and hinder the spread of wildfires… The company creates teams of certified arborists, foresters, and loggers. All new employees shadow a professional for several months before they can perform assessments on their own…

Las Vegas, Nevada, Review-Journal, September 13, 2020: Seedlings from 9/11 Survivor Tree ‘doing very well’ in Las Vegas

Two ornamental pear seedlings have grown stronger in the past year, but they have not yet received permanent homes in Las Vegas. Last year, Las Vegas was selected as a recipient of the seedlings from the Survivor Tree Seedling Program as a symbol of hope after the mass shooting that occurred on Oct. 1, 2017. The Survivor Tree was recovered from ground zero with broken roots and branches after the 9/11 attacks in New York City. The tree was rehabilitated and replanted at the Sept. 11 memorial in 2010, according to the organization’s website. The program launched in 2013 with the harvested seedlings from the tree to share the message of solidarity. According to Las Vegas officials, the program sent a pair of seedlings in case one was damaged in transport. In the past year, the seedlings have grown, but they’re still too small to be planted. They are housed in the city’s tree nursery, where Steven Glimp, park maintenance manager for the city, cares for them. “The trees are doing very well and we look forward to their continued growth so that we can plant them next year,” Glimp said in a statement provided by a city spokesman. “The city of Las Vegas is honored to be a recipient of these trees.” City officials have not decided where the trees will be planted. Options include the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden or the Las Vegas Fire Department Station 5, which hosts a 9/11 remembrance ceremony each year and has a piece of World Trade Center steel on display…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sun, September 13, 2020: What to do when wind damages trees

Question: I lost about 1/3 of my crabapple tree and probably more than 1/2 of a mimosa tree in the wind storm on Tuesday. Is there anything I should do to try to help them?
Answer: Great question! The short answer is, “No, at least not urgently, and there’s no need for any type of wound sealant.” For now, in case it helps you rest easier, imagine what your trees would do if they were all alone in the forest and were damaged by wind gusts. They’d just sit there and be fine. That is, unless there are any immediate risks, like a car parked underneath or an area of high pedestrian activity nearby where a partially broken limb could fall and hurt someone. Aside from considering bodily harm and property damage, the next step mostly depends on the damage. How thick were the branches that were broken? How many branches, approximately, per tree? And are they within easy reach from the ground? Evidence from tree research has confirmed that clean-cut wounds (as opposed to scraggly jagged tears) seal better and faster. Trees’ natural responses to injury are partly influenced on the time of year and the growth stage. For example, responses may be faster in the active growing season than in the dormant season. In the coming weeks, you or a trained arborist can clean up the jagged branch breaking points to help the trees seal those wounded areas more easily. It is important that the wider base of each branch called the branch collar be left intact so that the cambial layer just inside the bark can grow over the wound to seal it…

Detroit, Michigan, WDIV-TV, September 10, 2020: Residents concerned over safety issue after fallen tree, debris litter Detroit street

A big mess on a Detroit street turned into a big safety concern. Washburn Street, on Detroit’s east side, was littered with debris and a large tree that came crashing down recently during wild weather. The damage wasn’t just an eyesore, but also a potential safety issue for residents. Neighbors wanted it cleaned up, so they called Help Me Hank to investigate. Hank Winchester found that the city had done some tree trimming on Washburn Street at about the same time DTE was doing some work in the area. Some who reached out weren’t exactly sure who created the mess, they just wanted it cleaned up. Winchester was alerted to the issue when someone Tweeted to him, Detroit mayor Mike Duggan and DTE Energy. Come to find out, DTE did not cause the mess. Detroit forestry crews were doing work here at about the same time as the DTE project. However, as it was being sorted out, DTE jumped into action and sent a crew to help. Winchester learned it was a city issue and Detroit city officials were quick to respond, sending a crew out to clean up the large mess and everything left behind. Washburn Street is now clear of the clutter and is no longer a safety concern for those living in the area…

Phys.org, September 10, 2020: Historical climate fluctuations in Central Europe overestimated due to tree ring analysis

“Was there a warm period in the Middle Ages that at least comes close to today’s? Answers to such fundamental questions are largely sought from tree ring data,” explains lead author Josef Ludescher of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “Our study now shows that previous climate analyses from tree ring data significantly overestimate the climate’s persistence. A warm year is indeed followed by another warm rather than a cool year, but not as long and strongly as tree rings would initially suggest. If the persistence tendency is correctly taken into account, the current warming of Europe appears even more exceptional than previously assumed.” To examine the quality of temperature series obtained from tree rings, Josef Ludescher and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (PIK) as well as Armin Bunde (Justus-Liebig-University Giessen) and Ulf Büntgen (Cambridge University) focused on Central Europe. Main reason for this approach was the existing long observation series dating back to the middle of the 18th century to compare with the tree ring data. In addition, there are archives that accurately recorded the beginning of grape and grain harvests and even go back to the 14th century. These records, as well as the width of tree rings, allow temperature reconstructions. A warm summer is indicated by a wide tree ring and an early start of the harvest, a cold summer by a narrow tree ring and a late start of the harvest. The trees studied are those from altitudes where temperature has a strong influence on growth and where there is enough water for growth even in warm years…

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, September 10, 2020: Legendary West Coast apple tree dies short of its 200th birthday

An apple tree thought to be the oldest in the Pacific Northwest has died at 194 years of age. The Old Apple Tree in Vancouver, Washington, was planted in 1826 when fur traders of the Hudson’s Bay Company settled in the area. It was considered the matriarch of the region’s bustling apple industry and produced a green apple that was on the sour side but great for baking. “While we knew this day would come, we hoped it was still years away,” Charles Ray, urban forester for the City of Vancouver, told CNN. Around 2015, the team of experts caring for the tree noticed that the cambium layer — the growing part of the trunk — was starting to die back, Ray explained. That contributed to the creation of a spiral crack in the trunk, which hollowed out over the years. The tree finally died in June. “The tree itself has taken on its own persona. It’s a living organism, just like us, and it’s been faced with a lifetime of challenges,” Ray said. “It stood there for generations and witnessed the world change around it.” “When anybody speaks of the oldest apple tree in the Northwest, everybody knows it was that apple tree,” David Benscoter, a retired FBI agent who now runs The Lost Apple Project, told CNN. “I’m sure people never thought it could reach that age…”

Tallahassee, Florida, Democrat, September 10, 2020: How to manage drought stress in trees with mulch, water, soil care

Could your trees be dying of thirst? We’ve recently had some heavy rains so surely there is no issue for our favorite trees, right? While we commonly have dramatic heavy rain events, the effects do not always last long. A few days of no rain and our landscapes begin to dry out once again. The thirst that mature trees have is significant. A single live oak can consume hundreds of gallons of water in a single day. That is why we need to constantly consider the needs of our trees and our soil. According to NOAA, the Florida Panhandle has been in a significant long-term deficit for rainfall. NOAA measures drought conditions on a bi-weekly basis and for 80% of the last 32 months, we have been in a below normal or drought condition. This has a number of effects on mature trees that are easily undetected. One of the first things to happen when the soil dries is that roots start to die, starting with the small fine roots first. The dry soil becomes hardened and often filled with air gaps. Roots become dry, brittle, and die. This leads to decay and one of many root rot diseases. Next, the air fills the pores, cracks, and gaps in the soil. That air has to escape before moisture can occupy the pore space…

Sacramento, California, Bee, September 9, 2020: ‘Ground zero’ for dead trees. How California mega-drought turned Creek Fire into inferno

California’s mega-drought officially ended three years ago but may have turned the Creek Fire into a monster. By killing millions of trees in the Sierra National Forest, the historic drought that ended in 2017 left an incendiary supply of dry fuel that appears to have intensified the fire that’s ravaged more than 140,000 acres in the southern Sierra Nevada, wildfire scientists and forestry experts said Tuesday. “The energy produced off that is extraordinary,” said Scott Stephens, a wildfire scientist at UC Berkeley. “Large amounts of woody material burning simultaneously.” What’s more, the Creek Fire is shaping up as a frightening template for other wildfires that could ignite in heavily forested areas that suffered extensive tree loss. “This might provide this first glimpse into the future we’re in for,” said LeRoy Westerling, a climate and wildfire scientist at UC Merced. Brittany Covich of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, a state agency that funds projects aimed at reducing wildfire risks in forests, said what’s happening in Fresno County could easily take place in the Tahoe National Forest and other areas with lots of dead trees.“That’s the fear we have across the Sierra Nevada,” Covich said…

Albuquerque, New Mexico, KOB-TV, September 9, 2020: Tree removal companies experience surge in business following storm

The storm Tuesday evening rolled in with business opportunities for tree removal companies. The owners of Eric’s Tree Care, Joel and Bonnie McMullan, said their team was out removing debris from people’s homes since the winds hit. “The phone has been going off since about four yesterday,” said Joel. His wife has been trying to keep up with the calls. “It’s been very hectic. We’ve had limbs fall on houses. Split trees, split in half. We have uprooted trees. The whole thing falls over,” she said. Bonnie said the extra business is a blessing. “It’s important for us to go out and help get these limbs out of people’s houses and everything. We want to make sure their houses are ok,” said Bonnie. However, she said it’s also sort of a curse. They have a crew of only six people. “We’re trying to get to as many as we can, but there’s only so many we can get to in a day,” she said. Other companies like Baca’s Trees are in the same boat. The business says they got more than 50 calls before noon for removals. Needless to say, they’re busy. But they ask people to still call the professionals. Bonnie said it can be dangerous if someone tries to handle a downed tree…

Fremont, Ohio, News-Messenger, September 9, 2020: Tree of Heaven is a devil to control from spreading

“There’s a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of cellar gratings. It is the only tree that grows out of cement. It grows lushly … survives without sun, water, and seemingly earth. It would be considered beautiful except that there are too many of it.” — ”A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” Betty Smith’s best-selling 1943 novel traced the story of Francie Nolan from her impoverished early life in the tenement districts of Brooklyn in 1912 to her first year at the University of Michigan. The tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima, was her metaphor for Francie’s iron determination to grow and prosper, even under the most adverse conditions. Smith could hardly have picked a more apt symbol of persistence and the resolve to succeed at all costs. It’s difficult not to admire the tree’s robust life force. On the other hand … For modern urban planners and all but the most forgiving of homeowners, Ailanthus is largely considered a true pain in the derriere. Interesting history, interesting ecology, but an absolute bear to control…

Futurism, September 9, 2020: Too Much CO2 Is Killing Trees, Scientists Say

As humanity continues to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, scientists had long hoped that a portion of it would get gobbled up by plants — including the Earth’s vast forests — instead of contributing to climate change. They were right — to an extent. The prediction that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide would speed up forest growth held up. But new research suggests that these fast-growing trees also die significantly younger, according to Agence France-Presse, at which point they’d release carbon once again as they decompose. Unfortunately, the link between higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and accelerated lifespans was observed across a wide span of tree types and species, according to research published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. That suggests that other trees may not be able to pick up the slack. “Our findings, very much like the story of the tortoise and the hare, indicate that there are traits within the fastest growing trees that make them vulnerable, whereas slower growing trees have traits that allow them to persist,” study coauthor and State University of New York forestry expert Steve Voelker said in a press release. For the last few decades, AFP reports, society has reaped the benefits of forests’ ability to absorb atmospheric carbon. But those benefits may soon end, as a sort of environmental reckoning approaches — though, to be fair, University of Arizona researchers found in 2013 that decomposing forests release less carbon than previously predicted…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, September 8, 2020: Bay Area farm loses 100,000 bay trees in fire — but it’s not the end for this spice company

From the look of it, one Vacaville family farm’s blackened soil and silvery white ghosts of some 100,000 trees might have looked like the end for their spice business. But the Attard family survived a similar fire almost 32 years ago. And this time, they knew something they didn’t know then: Their California laurel trees could start growing back within months. Paul Attard and his family, of Napa Mountain Spice Co., sell certified organic bay leaves to Spice Islands and other companies. They harvest them from the mostly wild California laurel trees that cover their property on a ridge straddling Solano and Napa counties. The land happens to be located right near one of the remote cameras used to monitor wildlife that caught some of the dramatic first moments of the LNU Lightning Complex the night of Aug. 18, which ultimately killed five people and has destroyed almost 1,500 structures. Due to the fire, Attard estimates the company will lose $1 million in sales…

London, UK, Daily Mail, September 9. 2020: Global warming: CO2 ‘reduces lifespan of trees’, study says

Trees with faster growth rates die younger across multiple countries and species, which reduces their overall carbon storage capacity, a new study claims. Researchers analysed tree-ring data of more than 200,000 records of 110 species across Europe, Asia and the Americas. They found faster tree growth, indicated by tree rings, is causing earlier mortality and the release of the carbon back into the atmosphere. Many scientists believe planting more trees will offset the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated from human activity. But shorter lifespans of trees will actually make them grow faster and have less time to absorb atmospheric CO2 than anticipated, the new study claims. The new study further calls into question predictions that greater tree growth means greater carbon storage in forests in the long term…

Anchorage, Alaska, Daily News, September 5, 2020: Why are spruce trees turning orange in the Alaska Range?

While wandering middle Alaska this summer, I noticed orange spruce trees along the entire length of the Denali Highway, from Paxson to Cantwell. In what looked like a dendrological case of frostbite, tips of every branch were afflicted with something. The real show happened when the wind blew: An entire valley glowed apricot. After the wind died, a Tang-like orange powder floated on rivers and puddles. It was as if someone had pepper-sprayed the Denali Highway. I suspected an insect outbreak — maybe the orange dust was millions of little eggs laid on spruce branches — but insect expert Derek Sikes of the University of Alaska Museum of the North said bugs were not to blame. It was a tree disease known as spruce needle rust, which infects only the current year’s needles of white, black and Sitka spruce trees. The orange powder is composed of millions of tiny spores, which the rust fungus uses to reproduce. Paul Hennon, an expert on forest diseases, wrote about spruce needle rust fungus in a 2001 bulletin for the Alaska branch of the USDA Forest Service…

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Patriot-News, September 8, 2020: Tree falls on man in York County, killing him: coroner

A man died Monday in Warrington Township when the tree he was cutting down fell on top of him, authorities said. The York County Coroner’s Office was called around 7:33 p.m. for a special rescue on the 800 block of Old Mountain Road. The man was pronounced dead an hour later, according to Coroner Pamela L. Gay. Gay said the man’s death was accidental and the result of “traumatic asphyxiation.” His identity will be released once family and next of kin are notified…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, September 7, 2020: These funny looking, fuzzy orange galls won’t hurt your oak tree, or you

Orange galls, fuzzy galls or fuzzy orange galls, no matter what you call them if you have an oak tree in your yard or on your property you likely have them. The culprit is the Cynipid wasp, a tiny member of the Vespidae family that lays its eggs on oak tree leaves. “The gall is the plant or tree’s reaction to the insect’s egg,” said Jim Dill, pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “The leaf tissue grows around the wasp egg.” The gall then serves as a protective shell in which the wasp larvae can grow and feed, Dill said. In the case of the fuzzy orange galls, these growths look like tiny balls of fluff. Early in the summer, they are a light tan. As the season goes on they start to darken until in late August and September they are deep orange and brown. Around that time the gall, with the wasp larvae inside, falls off the leaf and the wasp will burrow into the ground until it pupates. It’s a lifecycle that can last one or two years, Dill said…

Sacramento, California, KCRA-TV, September 5, 2020: PG&E to cut down 200+ trees in Nevada County

People in Nevada City learned this week that Pacific Gas and Electric will begin cutting down more than 200 trees beginning next week. PG&E said it’s out of safety. Some residents, however, claim the utility is not handling the tree removal process correctly. Bob Nienaber, who lives along West Broad Street in Nevada City, recently noticed somebody spray painting the tree in his front yard and wondered what was going on. When he asked what crews were doing, he said he was told “PG&E was going to be removing a couple of trees in its path of sight to make sure the lines were safe.” When he got in his car and drove up the street, he said he “started seeing the markings everywhere.” Nienaber learned PG&E is scheduled to chop down 263 area trees beginning the day after Labor Day. City Planner Amy Wolfson confirmed the action. “About a hundred of those are on city property,” she said. “And then the remaining trees are all on private property.” Workers had marked which ones would be coming down with yellow spray paint. PG&E sent KCRA a statement, saying in part: “PG&E is required by law to assess and manage vegetation that poses a threat, including trimming overhanging limbs and branches above power lines…”

Las Vegas, Nevada, Sun, September 7, 2020: Climate change threatens Joshua Tree’s traditional home

Drive just outside of Las Vegas and they appear. Twisted, warped, their branches reaching out like alien hands, the Joshua tree is a symbol of the Mojave Desert. But the survival of the tree in its traditional range is at risk because of climate change, according to the National Park Service. With the desert getting hotter, drier and more susceptible to wildfires, some of the tree’s habitat could become inhospitable to the plant, scientists say. Joshua Tree National Park, about 200 miles from Las Vegas in California, could be virtually bare of the plant by 2070, according to a 2019 study by the University of California, Riverside. In the best-case scenarios, a sharp reduction of greenhouse gases could keep the trees at 18.6% of their historic range — from western Arizona to eastern California, the study found. The demise of the tree would “represent the collapse of the higher-elevation Mojave Desert ecosystem,” said Patrick Donnelly, the state director for the Center for Biological Diversity. The tree provides food and shelter for many desert animals, he said. The Joshua Tree Genome Project, a multistate scientific collaboration, has set out to sequence the tree’s genome to gain insight into how the tree might adapt to a changing climate…

Ars Technica, September 5, 2020: Could a tree help find a decaying corpse nearby?

Since 1980, the University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center has plumbed the depths of the most macabre of sciences: the decomposition of human bodies. Known colloquially as the Body Farm, here scientists examine how donated cadavers decay, like how the microbiomes inside us go haywire after death. That microbial activity leads to bloat, and—eventually—a body will puncture. Out flows a rank fluid of nutrients, especially nitrogen, for plants on the Body Farm to subsume. That gave a group of University of Tennessee, Knoxville researchers an idea: what if that blast of nutrients actually changes the color and reflectance of a tree’s leaves? And, if so, what if law enforcement authorities could use a drone to scan a forest, looking for these changes to find deceased missing people? Today in the journal Trends in Plant Science, researchers are formally floating the idea—which, to be clear, is still theoretical. The researchers are just beginning to study how a plant’s phenotype—its physical characteristics—might change if a human body is composing nearby. “What we’re proposing is to use plants as indicators of human decomposition, to hopefully be able to use individual trees within the forest to help pinpoint where someone has died, to help in body recovery,” says UT Knoxville plant biologist Neal Stewart, coauthor on the new paper. As a large mammal like a human decomposes in a forest, its breakdown transforms the soil in a number of ways. The body’s “necrobiome”—all the bacteria that was already in it when it was alive—replicates like crazy in the absence of an immune system. This necrobiome mixes with the microbes in the dirt. “The soil microbiome will change and, of course, the plant roots will also sense some changes,” says Stewart. But, he adds, “we don’t really know what those changes are…”

Chicago, Illinois, WBBM-TV, September 3, 2020: Gary Resident Says Street Overrun By Weeds And Trees Is Unsafe

A senior citizen in Gary, Indiana, says the city has let her street get completely overrun by trees and undergrowth and it’s unsafe for her now. For 20 years Doris Crockett has called DeKalb Street home, but now it’s a headache. “There’s debris all along there,” she says. “I have been in the bed, and one of them limbs fell on my bedroom, sounds like a bomb hits my ceiling. They let everything grow off. They don’t care. It’s become a jungle. I hate to say it, but the city has allowed this block to go.” It’s so bad even delivery drivers get confused. “FedEx has rung my bell because they want to go down the street. I say, ‘You’ll have to turn around. The street is closed off,’” Crockett says. That same overgrowth has made it really easy to hide various activities on the block, too. “There was a trailer in the trees, and I think they were making out every day,” Crockett says. On a more serious note, she says not only has the overgrowth posed a danger to her house and her car but also she has caught people using the street like a junkyard. “They’re so used to seeing in my window to see if they’re dumping that they turn around and come back out,” she said. “One time someone brought a car and put it on fire.” Since her husband died, 70-year-old Crockett has been struggling to adapt to living on her own. She wrote a letter last year begging the city for help with DeKalb Street…

Kansas City, Missouri, Star, September 3, 2020: Tree-cutter pinned to ground for 4 days when it falls on him, Minnesota sheriff says

A man was trapped under a tree for four days before help arrived, a Minnesota sheriff says. According to the Redwood County Sheriff’s Office, Jonathan Ceplecha, age 59, was cutting down trees when a tree fell on him pinning both legs under the tree Ceplecha had been pinned under the tree since Thursday, August 27 – over 100 hours. After nearly two hours, the Redwood Falls Fire Department extricated Ceplecha, and he was airlifted from the scene. Ceplecha lives alone near Redwood Falls, and his ex-wife went to check on him after growing suspicious when he missed work on Friday and Monday, KMSP reported. It wasn’t until Monday afternoon that the sheriff’s office and fire department learned of the accident, officials say. After rescuers arrived, it took them almost two hours to free the man from under the tree…

Phys.org, September 2, 2020: Oldest radiocarbon dated temperate hardwood tree in the world discovered in southern Italy

Radiocarbon dating of five large and potentially old sessile oaks from Aspromonte National Parks has revealed a long lifespan ranging from 934 ± 65 to 570 ± 45 years. For a long time, majestic oaks have been considered a symbol of longevity, and this study proves that a millennium age horizon is attainable longevity in angiosperms growing at high-elevation belt in Mediterranean mountains of South Italy. “Studying the longevity of trees in response to climate change under different environments is a research priority for both nature conservation and climate change mitigation strategies,” says Gianluca Piovesan from University of Tuscia, Dafne. “For a long time, majestic oaks have been considered a symbol of longevity. In a study just published in the journal Ecology, we dated five large and potentially old sessile oaks from Aspromonte National Parks using radiocarbon, revealing unexpected long lifespan ranging from 934 ± 65 to 570 ± 45 years. Jordan Palli and Michele Baliva from Dendrology Lab, University of Tuscia, say: “The sampling was arduous for two reasons: Firstly, these ancient trees stand on steep, rocky slopes that are difficult to reach and to walk through. Secondly, very old individuals are often rotten or hollowed in the inner part of the stem, given the centuries of exposure to the elements and to natural pests and pathogens. This means that the oldest rings were often missing or severely degraded, challenging the identification and collection of the closest tree rings to the pith for radiocarbon dating. In the Dendrology Lab we carried out a careful stereoscope screening to identify the oldest rings in our samples. Given the very narrow size of the rings, we had to use a scalpel to collect them…”

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Sun-Sentinel, September 3, 2020: Real estate Q&A: Who should pay to remove tree that straddles property line?

Q: Could you please clarify the obligations of neighbors who have a tree that straddles the property line? Our insurance company is requiring that the tree come down due to liability to the house. Should our neighbor have to pay some portion of the bill to remove the tree? — Linc
A: When a tree straddles the property line, it creates a few thorny issues to resolve. To do so, we will need to first look at tree law in other situations. When a tree is on your neighbor’s property, but its limbs or roots extend onto your property, you have both the right to trim them back to the property line so long as you do not damage the overall health of the tree. You also have the responsibility to do this before it hurts your property. If your neighbor’s tree is healthy and a branch breaks off in a storm, you cannot hold your neighbor responsible, even if it falls on your roof. The law both allows and requires you to protect your property in this situation by trimming the branches back. However, if the tree is unhealthy or dead when it falls, your neighbor will be responsible for the damage it causes. This is an incentive for him to maintain his property in a way that does not harm others. Both parties own a tree that straddles the property line. Trimming the branches and cleaning up the fallen leaves is up to each owner on their side of the line…

Office of Texas Attorney General, September 2, 2020: AG Paxton: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Awarded $20 Million Settlement for Bastrop State Park Restoration

Attorney General Ken Paxton today commended a settlement awarding $20 million to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) to remedy devastation caused by the failure of Asplundh Tree Expert, LLC to properly manage vegetation growth. Almost nine years ago to the day, unmaintained trees damaged power lines and sparked a wildfire that destroyed 1,700 homes and burned 96 percent of the Bastrop State Park, which is one of only seven state parks across the country that have been designated as a National Historical Landmark. “This settlement marks a monumental step in the continued restoration of the Bastrop State Park and healing of this beautiful Texas community,” said Attorney General Paxton. “After fires and floods brought colossal damage, TPWD has been expertly nursing this state treasure back to health. As more work is still needed, I commend this settlement and the hard work of everyone involved for providing much needed remedy to this stunning Texas landmark…”

Denver, Colorado, KMGH-TV, September 2, 2020: Why are some of Colorado’s aspen trees brown? “The precipitation kind of turned off”

Along the scenic drive through the Pike National Forest, aspen trees line Highway 285 between Grant and Jefferson. But some of those trees are not covered in their usual green-about-to-turn-yellow leaves. Many of them are brown and dead. Several Denver7 viewers and employees noticed this on their weekend treks into the mountains, and raised the questions of “why?” And “what does that mean for leaf-peeping season?” Dr. Dan West is an entomologist with the Colorado Forest Service, specializing in trees and tree issues. He blamed the issue on drought and bugs. “As they no longer have enough water, the tips (of the leaves) start to burn and we see this brown margin or the outside edge of the leaf turns brown,” he said. The entire state of Colorado is seeing some form of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Conditions in many of the mountains west of Denver are dealing with “severe” or “extreme” drought. “The precipitation kind of turned off,” West said…

Scientific American, September 2, 2020: Death by Lightning Is Common for Tropic Trees

The chance that a human being like you will be struck by lightning is miniscule. But what if you’re a tall tree in the tropics? “Lightning happens in milliseconds. We can’t predict where it’s going to be and we generally can’t find it after it’s happened, so what a hard thing to study.” Evan Gora, an ecologist at the University of Louisville. Now, for the first time, Gora and his colleagues were able to quantify the effects of lightning strikes in tropical forests around the world—thanks to satellite data and a network of ground sensors. “We saw that forests that have more lightning strikes hitting per hectare per year have fewer large trees per hectare, presumably because they’re killed by lightning. More biomass turns over every year, so basically the lightning seems to be affecting the forests and causing trees to die. And then they have less total biomass…”

Detroit, Michigan, News, September 2, 2020: Utility, police say tree’s fatal fall had no human cause

Officials said Wednesday that further investigation has determined that an incident in which a Clarkston motorist was killed by a falling tree was nothing more than a freak accident. Ronald Ohlinger, 41, was driving his 2005 Chrysler Town and Country minivan south on Williams Lake Road approaching Vanden Drive in White Lake Township about 6 p.m. Monday when a tree on the west side of the street fell on top of the vehicle. Ohlinger’s 18-year-old stepdaughter suffered only minor injuries but also had to be cut out of the vehicle by emergency response workers. Ohlinger, who owned a tattoo parlor and pizzeria in Clarkston, was pronounced dead at the scene from his resulting injuries. An autopsy determined cause of death was extreme trauma to the head. Neighbors reported to media outlets their feeling the accident could have been prevented and theorized that a tree trimming crew under contract with DTE Energy had made the tree unstable. That theory was disputed Wednesday by others, including the utility, which said the crew “never touched that particular tree…”

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, September 1, 2020: Group protests removal of 125-year-old-plus Pleasanton tree

A group of Pleasanton residents gathered at sunrise Tuesday beneath a heritage tree that’s at least as old as the city itself to protest its impending removal. The tree has survived major earthquakes and both world wars, and witnessed the city grow from a time when the transcontinental railroad was new, and ranchers, horse breeders and dairy farmers flooded the area because of its favorable climate and vast land. But now, the Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus tree that has stood tall at Lions Wayside Park on 4401 First St. in downtown for at least 125 years will have to be cut down because of a sulphur fungus that has taken over, according to the city. The tree is sick and decaying, the fungus incurable — and it’s now become a public safety hazard and too dangerous to let it continue to live, the city says. “You just don’t kill someone because they’re ill,” said Wayne Strickler, 81, who has been a Pleasanton resident for 50 years…

Detroit, Michigan, WXYZ-TV, September 1, 2020: Neighbors say Oakland County man’s death caused by falling tree could’ve been prevented

Questions are being raised after a falling tree suddenly takes the life of a local family man who was driving along a busy road in Oakland County. Some in White Lake Township say it’s an accident that could have been prevented. “He was a great guy who would help anybody out he could, like they say he’d give the shirt off his back,” said Tom Meloche, the best friend of Ron Ohlinger. Family members say 42-year-old Ohlinger was devoted to his kids and wife more than anything else. He was also known to so many throughout his community as a proud owner of local tattoo and pizza shops. After word spread of his sudden death Monday night, after a large tree fell onto his minivan, countless social media posts began immediately sharing condolences and sympathy online. “He started with a tattoo company in Clarkston then a pizza shop next door, and everything he did was for his family,” Meloche said. “They just opened a second location in Waterford…”

Grist, September 2, 2020: Wildfires are getting worse. Will forests start to burn themselves out?

Thousands of lightning strikes have put California under a “fire siege” since mid-August, setting parched grasses, shrubs, and trees ablaze across the state. Last week, when word got out that wildfires had entered Big Basin Redwoods State Park, many feared for the fate of its namesake redwood forest. But by Friday, those fears were dispelled. The “Mother of the Forest” and other ancient trees remained healthy. This was not the first time their thick, fire-resistant bark has withstood such heat. Forests in the West are used to fire, even dependent on fire, and many tree species have adaptations that help them survive or regenerate in the wake of one. But wildfires are changing, becoming more severe and more frequent. As the climate warms and heat and drought in the West become more extreme, these shifts are expected to intensify. The result is a Gordian Knot of feedback loops that threaten Western forests in unprecedented ways, and scientists are racing to understand how the relationship between forests and fire is changing in response. One question is whether the increase in fire frequency might eventually burn itself out. “There is this hope, I guess you could call it a hope in some way, that that will eventually cause a negative feedback,” said Briam Buma, an ecologist at the University of Colorado in Denver. “You’ll get a bunch of fires and everything will be burned up and there won’t be a lot of fuel left, and so fire frequency may go down…”

San Luis Obispo, California, Tribune, September 1, 2020: Exploding trees? Here’s why we see big branches fall during hot summer days

The historic mid-August heat wave started with one of the most significant outbreaks of thunderstorms that I have ever seen in California’s coastal regions. These thunderstorms created a flurry of dry-lightning strikes that started more than 700 wildfires throughout Northern and Central California. So far this year, around 2,500 square miles have been burned in California. The Golden State is on track to break the previous record of 3,125 square miles burnt in 2018. In fact, the worst part of the fire season is still ahead, as the dry and hot Santa Lucia (northeasterly) winds historically start to develop in the late summer and fall. The mid-August heat wave of 2020 smashed numerous temperature records. Many more would have been broken if it were not for the shade from the extensive and thick smoke plumes that covered most of the state…

San Jose, California, Mercury News, August 31, 2020: In California, fire-ravaged trees a peril in wildfires’ wake

The flames are mostly gone after roaring through the coastal mountains northwest of Santa Cruz, but the danger lingers. Smoke still billows around the bases of trees that hang ominously over the roads. Some trees wearily rest on their neighbors, others lean out at angles, some dangle massive broken limbs. They’re known among firefighters as “widow-makers,” perilously suspended branches that can fall without warning and injure or kill crew members working below. It is a peril firefighters are all too familiar with — and carefully trying to eliminate as they begin to allow more than 40,000 evacuated residents to return to areas ravaged by the CZU August Lightning Complex fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. “A lot of the fire weakened trees are beginning to fall,” Mark Brunton, a battalion chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Friday. “There’s a lot of fire-weakened trees in there…”

Nashville, Tennessee, WKRN-TV, August 31, 2020: Nashville Tree Conservation Corps replacing trees destroyed by March tornado

The March Tornadoes devastated Middle Tennessee, destroying homes, businesses and uprooting trees. One local organization’s goal is to replace some of what was lost. The Nashville Tree Conservation Corps has been working to replace trees that were uprooted by this year’s severe weather events. Since March, the Corps has been working hard to replace the trees destroyed in many Nashville neighborhoods. News 2 spoke to Jim Gregory, Chair of the Nashville Tree Conservation Corps, about their efforts. “By November, there will be six semi-truckloads of trees coming into Nashville. The majority of those have already been delivered. Due to a very generous contribution from Hale and Hines Nursery, we were able to move 1,000 trees, four semi-truck loads of trees, within 45 days…”

CBC/Radio Canada, August 31, 2020: Deadly affliction in elm trees creeps into Alberta

Two cases of a disease fatal to elm trees were recently discovered in Lethbridge. Dutch elm disease is a fungus and will kill an elm if infected, says Janet Feddes-Calpas, executive director of the Society to Prevent Dutch Elm Disease, a non-profit organization. The disease has killed millions of trees in North America since it was discovered on the continent nearly 100 years ago. And until now, Alberta had successfully kept out the disease, with only one previous case. That was in Wainwright in the late 1990s. But in early August, two elm trees growing side by side in Lethbridge tested positive for the fungus. Someone spotted the trees, which seemed to have the typical symptoms like wilting leaves and flagging, which is when the leaves on a whole branch turn yellow. “Because of the seriousness of the disease … those trees that were confirmed were removed and immediately buried,” said Feddes-Calpas. As to how the trees got infected, Feddes-Calpas says the affliction can spread from tree to tree by elm bark beetles or by root grass…

Oakland, California, East Bay Times, August 31, 2020: Pleasanton readies removal of heritage tree from park

One of the city’s oldest trees will be removed from a downtown park this week, officials said Monday. According to a weekend post on a city social-media account, the tree was “has been sick with an incurable sulphur fungus that has spread throughout the tree, and will need to be removed.” The tree, a Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus, towers over a meadow within Lions Wayside Park, 4401 First St., in the city’s historic downtown. A 2013 city park and recreation commission agenda described the tree as the city’s largest, at over 100 feet tall and more than 33 feet in circumference. The park regularly hosts concerts, picnics, pet parades and other gatherings, drawing residents and visitors to relax underneath or near it over many year. Heritage trees, covered by the city’s tree preservation ordinance, are usually 55 inches or larger when measured 4.5 feet off the ground, or at least 35 feet in height, and can be any species and either publicly or privately owned…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, August 30, 2020: ‘I loved walking into that tree’: Docent waits on the fate of one beloved Big Basin redwood

Elise Scripps is worried about a tree. Eight years ago — before anyone imagined that California’s wildfires could get so bad — the San Jose naturalist volunteered as a docent at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, leading hikes around the Redwood Loop. The short trail near the visitor center was the park’s most popular attraction, and there Scripps introduced visitors to some of the region’s tallest and widest old-growth coast redwoods: the Mother of the Forest tree, a towering 293-footer, and the Father of the Forest tree, 251 feet tall and 18.47 feet across. It was Big Basin’s magnificent trees — the longest contiguous stand of old growth redwoods south of San Francisco — that in 1902 led to the formation of the state park, California’s first. Scripps loved every tree in the park, but one of her favorites wasn’t on the loop: the Auto tree. When the tours were over, she would sometimes visit the tree by herself. Estimated to be more than 1,500 years old, the Auto tree was one of the oldest trees in the park and it stretched 282 feet in the air from not just one but two trunks. Over time the tree had endured so many fires that its heartwood had burned out, leaving its interior hollow and distinguished by a large scar. It seemed miraculous to Scripps, but somehow the tree was still alive, and continued to grow. Even more amazing, the gap seemed to be shrinking over time, a tree healing its own wound. “It really embodied a redwood and its ability to triumph,” she says. “I loved walking into that tree and looking up.” Two weeks ago, lightning set off the largest conflagration in the region’s recorded history — the CZU Lightning August Complex fire. It tore across more than 83,000 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains, leveling Big Basin’s historic headquarters, main lodge, ranger station and many other structures, and extending over all 18,000 acres of the park…

CNN, August 30, 2020: The bizarre story of a man who tried to murder a 600-year-old tree

In May 1989, a bizarre murder attempt in Austin, Texas, gripped the nation and made worldwide news. The details of the case were unusual, and unlike anything police had seen before. The victim? Austin’s oldest resident, a nearly 600-year-old tree known as Treaty Oak. Treaty Oak is a spectacular specimen. It is centuries older than the city it resides in and stretches out to a spread of nearly 100 feet. In the 1920s, the American Forestry Association named the Treaty Oak the most perfect specimen of a tree in North America. And thanks to a citywide fundraiser in the 1930s, the tree even owns the park it lives on. “Certainly there are not many trees, not just in Austin or in Texas, but in the world, that own their own land,” said John Giedraitis, Austin’s first city forester. When Giedraitis took on his role as a forester with the parks department in 1985, he was well acquainted with the Treaty Oak. “Well, certainly we had several historic trees in Austin … but the most important tree was Treaty Oak,” he said. Native American tribes, including the Tonkawa and the Comanche, believed the tree was sacred. Students would take field trips to the Treaty Oak every year, and residents found shade and comfort under its cover during the heat of the summer. And for Giedraitis, the tree holds an even closer place in his heart. “When I decided to propose to my wife, I proposed under the Treaty Oak,” he said. So, when evidence of criminality against the tree surfaced, Giedraitis could not understand why anyone would harm such a beloved piece of Texas history…

Concord, New Hampshire, Monitor, August 30, 2020: Those webs in trees are ugly but not really a problem

So many bad things are happening in the environment that the sight of what looks like huge balls of cotton candy all over some trees feels like the latest new disaster. But don’t fret: They’re routine and not as bad as they look. These aren’t gypsy moths or tent caterpillars, both of which can kill trees. These are fall webworms, whose nest are ugly but almost never a real problem. There’s certainly no need to spend money on pesticides, which probably wouldn’t penetrate the webs even if you tried. “Don’t panic” is the succinct advice from UNH Cooperative Extension in its online page about fall webworms. It explains that these are moth caterpillars, part of a complicated lifecycle. The moths hatch in mid- to late-July and the larvae crawl up the tree and eat leaves for a while inside a silky home they weave to protect themselves, then make a cocoon and spend the winter as pupae in the soil. In early summer the moths emerge, find a mate and lay eggs, which hatch soon afterward and start the cycle over again. The best bet if you hate the sight of the webs is to pull them down with a rake or a pole. Even better, says Co-op Extension: “Treat yourself to a hot cup of coffee and let birds, insect predators and internal parasites keep fall webworms in check,” although poking a couple of holes in a web can help those predators get in. No action is really needed because, despite an alarming appearance, the webs do little harm. Webworms appear late in summer, after trees have already stored much of the energy they need for winter and they are native to the area so that our forests have learned to live with them…

Bloomberg City Lab, August 28, 2020: Can Planting Trees Make a City More Equitable?

As the U.S. grapples with natural disasters and racial injustice, one coalition of U.S. cities, companies and nonprofits sees a way to make an impact on both fronts: trees. Specifically, they committed to planting and restoring 855 million of them by 2030 as part of the Trillion Trees Initiative, a global push to encourage reforestation to capture carbon and slow the effects of global heating. Announced on Thursday, it’s the first nationwide pledge to the program, and additionally noteworthy because the U.S. group — which includes Microsoft Corp. and Mastercard Inc. — will focus on urban plantings as means of improving air quality in communities that have been disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change. “We’re passionate about urban forestry and the goal of tree equity,” says Jad Daley, president and chief executive officer of American Forests, the longtime conservation group that’s helped organize the pledge. “It’s not just about more trees in cities. If you show me a map of tree cover in any city, you’re showing me a map of race and income levels. We see this as nothing less than a moral imperative…”

Passaic, New Jersey, North Jersey.com, August 18, 2020: This 200-year-old oak tree survived wars, droughts before snapped by Tropical Storm Isaias

An acorn took root, perhaps sometime around the founding of the republic, and grew into an oak tree that survived this country’s most storied events: wars, droughts and economic depressions, not to mention enormous amounts of development in southern Passaic County. The massive oak, however, met its match when Isaias blew through this month and snapped the tree in two. Its loss did not go unmourned. The Rev. Michael Lombardo of Wayne’s Our Lady of Consolation Church had a 56-year history with the tree, which for as long he can remember towered over the family home. Lombardo’s family moved to Totowa in 1964 after buying the house at the corner of Willard Avenue and Totowa Road. It helped cool the house in summer, its massive arms providing shade. Its loss was a loss for his family and the surrounding neighborhood…

Raleigh, North Carolina, News & Observer, August 18, 2020: 112 workers test positive for coronavirus at Alleghany County Christmas tree farm

COVID-19 outbreaks popping up in farms across rural North Carolina struck the small town of Sparta in the state’s northwestern corner and resulted in the single largest outbreak in Alleghany County. With 112 cases as of Tuesday, Bottomley Evergreens & Farms also has the biggest outbreak among farmworkers housed by farmers during the season, workers who are brought from Mexico with H-2A visas for temporary agricultural work. That’s more than a quarter of the farm’s nearly 400 workers. The outbreak is included along with 10 other farms in the list of congregate living facilities with active outbreaks maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services. Alleghany County had fewer than 70 cases at the end of July, until the virus broke out at the Bottomley Christmas tree farm, which employs nearly 400 workers. As of Monday, the county now has 180 cases. “It’s not particularly surprising where you’ve got such a large group of workers and essentially sharing housing spaces,” said Justin Flores, vice president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, the state’s only farmworker union. “…With just one or a few cases, it would pretty rapidly spread cases, and especially (when) you have folks that are either asymptomatic or not having severe enough symptoms to raise big flags…”

Schenectady, New York, Daily Gazette, August 19, 2020: Tree service vehicle takes down utility pole on Route 50 in Ballston

A tree service vehicle caught wires on Route 50 in the Town of Ballston Wednesday and brought down a utility pole Wednesday afternoon. A Wade’s Tree Service vehicle failed to lower its boom arm when exiting a work site on Route 50 near the intersections of McCrea Hill Road and Meadowbrook in the Town of Ballston. The arm became entangled in the overhead wires and brought down a nearby utility pole. The traffic signal at the intersection of Outlet Road and Route 50 was out of service due to the accident. A spokesperson for National Grid said no customers were impacted by the accident and crews were working at the scene. The repairs were expected to be completed by 7 p.m. Wednesday evening…

Mount Vernon, Iowa, The Gazette, August 18, 2020: Cornell’s beloved 170-year-old ginkgo tree badly damaged by derecho

A ginkgo tree outside the president’s house at Cornell College — older than the school itself — suffered a severe hit in last week’s derecho storm. According to the Cornell Report, the college’s alumni magazine, at one time the 85-foot ginkgo was dubbed a “State Champion tree … the largest reported of (its) species in the State of Iowa” by the Iowa Conservation Commission. The facilities team at Cornell believes the ginkgo lost about half its body in the storm. Tree experts will examine whether it can remain. Jill Hawk, public relations director at Cornell, said that 10 companies currently are working to make repairs to campus. The college made the decision to delay the start of classes by two weeks, until Sept. 7. “While the storm damaged more than 100 trees, many of which will need to be removed, several of our largest tree specimens appear, for now, to have minimal damage,” Hawk said. “That includes the massive cottonwood just in front of King Chapel and the white ash, which was #5 in the state in height before they stopped keeping track — just below the cottonwood on the hill. Also standing is the blue spruce that was the state’s third-largest tree of its kind, a huge knotted redbud, and a stand of four huge larch trees lining First Street in front of the Scott Alumni Center…”

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, August 17, 2020: Neighbors rescue 80-year-old woman after fallen tree traps her inside Framingham home

A group of neighbors rescued an 80-year-old woman Sunday morning from her Framingham home after a massive tree crashed through its roof and trapped her inside, officials said. Teddy Quintal was having brunch in his home around 10:45 a.m. when he heard a loud crash next door at 37 Rockridge Road. “We had very little understanding of what caused it until we saw the tree on the house,” Quintal said. “I ran over right away.” An oak tree that was abut 100 feet tall had toppled onto a one-story house, trapping the home’s lone occupant inside. Quintal tried to get to the front door, but it was blocked by damage from the tree. He ran around to the back of the house and looked in through the windows, yelling to get someone’s attention. “That’s when I saw her moving inside. She was a little disoriented because of the impact,” Quintal said. Three more neighbors rushed down the street to help. Quintal said he ran back to his house and grabbed masks for everyone to wear before helping his neighbors pull the woman out through a window…

Phys.org, August 17, 2020: Scientists unlock Alpine trees’ molecular defence

Needle bladder rust causes Norway spruce needles to yellow and fall out, causing a significant reduction in growth. Scientists in Austria have unlocked a natural defence mechanism that the species can use to fend off the potentially fatal pathogen. The findings have been published in the BMC Genomics journal. Disease is one of the major threats facing trees around the globe, especially in a warming world where many organisms are finding themselves living in an environment in which they are under increasing levels of stress. It is widely predicted that invasive pathogens, and the insects that can spread them, are expected to thrive in a world experiencing climate change. In evolutionary terms, harmful pathogens developed alongside plants’ attempts to protect themselves, creating a multi-millennia cold war between biological kingdoms…

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 17, 2020: Could trees live forever? Scientists disagree

Trees do not pay taxes. Some seem to avoid death as well. Many of the world’s most ancient organisms are trees, including a 3,600-year-old cypress in Chile and a sacred fig in Sri Lanka that was planted in the third century B.C. But a paper published in the journal Trends in Plant Science — “Long-Lived Trees Are Not Immortal” — argues that even the most venerable trees have physiological limits. Sergi Munné-Bosch, a plant biologist at the University of Barcelona, wrote the article in response to a January study on ginkgo trees, which can live for more than 1,000 years. The study found that 600-year-old ginkgos are as reproductively and photosynthetically vigorous as their 20-year-old peers. Genetic analysis of the trees’ vascular cambium — a thin layer of cells that lies just underneath the bark and creates new tissue — showed “no evidence of senescence,” or cell death. Munné-Bosch said he found the paper “very interesting,” but disagreed with the study as interpreted in popular media. “In my opinion at least, there is no immortality,” he said. Those tree species that can live for millenniums have simple body plans and develop modularly, so they can replace parts they lose. They build on their own dead tissue, which provides support and volume at a low metabolic cost. The trunk of a very old tree might be 95% dead, Munné-Bosch said…

Phys.org, August 17, 2020: Study examines how adaptable common urban tree species are under drought conditions

Researchers in the Which Plant Where project based at Western Sydney University have assessed the physiological tolerance of five key urban tree species across four geographic locations as part of efforts to select species that are more likely to cope with heat and drought as they mature over the next decades. The five species identified—Lophostemon confertus (Brush Box/Queensland Box), Celtis australis (Nettle Tree), Cupaniopsis anarcardioides (Tuckeroo), Eucalyptus microcorys (Tallowwood) and Tristaniopsis laurina (Watergum)—represent commonly-planted tree in urban Australia and are from different backgrounds and locations of origin. According to Dr. Manuel Esperon-Rodriguez, lead author of the research at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, these key species could support significant efforts underway to increase the use of climate-ready tree species that will thrive in an increasingly warm and drier future. “We measure a species’ adaptiveness to heat and drought through measures such as leaf turgor, wood density, isotopic carbon analysis and leaf area,” said Dr. Esperon-Rodriguez. “Interestingly, the exotic and cooler-climate origin species such as Celtis and Tristaniopsis showed greater ‘plasticity’ under warmer conditions than the species that actually evolved in warmer climates such as Eucalyptus and Cupaniopsis. Plasticity is a term that refers to a species’ ability to modify its functions or features that show potential for better coping with the warmer and drier conditions, and could mean they are actually better suited to future climates,” Dr. Esperon-Rodriguez said…

Chicago, Illinois, Sun-Times, August 16, 2020: Trees: What to do after the storm hits

The ‘derecho’ storm that hit Chicago Monday felled thousands of trees, leaving downed trunks and limbs scattered across yards, streets and sidewalks. Afterward, 5,600 emergency calls were placed to the city’s Bureau of Forestry, according to Deputy Commissioner of Streets and Sanitation Malcolm Whiteside. The forestry bureau is part of that department. Many homeowners may still wonder about what’s next — how to remove the trees, what to do about broken limbs still teetering in the branches, how to save damaged trees, or how to replace their favorite maple. Where does my private land end, and public land begin? And how does this affect how I deal with storm-damaged trees around me? Although it’s clear the street is public land and your yard is private, the interactions between private and public land and property beyond that get trickier. The sidewalk and the parkway — that patch of land between the sidewalk and the street— are public land. However, as homeowner, it’s your job to mow the parkway and keep the sidewalk clear (shoveling snow, for instance). But if a tree falls there, you can call 311 to ask the city remove it because the tree is public property…

St. Louis, Missouri, Post-Dispatch, August 16, 2020: Apple tree holes could be insect or woodpecker

Q: I have a red delicious apple tree that I have never sprayed. It has needed protection; it’s just that I did not have the time to devote to it. I would want to use an OMRI listed spray. Parts of the tree are dying. If one examines the trunk, there are holes bored into it, going around the full circle of it. A recent storm brought down most of the dead limbs, and it’s clear that our tree needs help. One limb came directly off the trunk, where there is now a large area that my neighbor said might need to be painted with a special protectant. Is there anything that you can tell me from this brief description?
A: Insects (borers, specifically) might be the cause of the holes in the trunk, but the holes they produce in tree trunks are entirely at random. If the holes you are seeing are arranged in more or less circular, geometrical patterns, then they are caused by yellow-bellied sapsuckers, a secretive, migratory woodpecker that passes through Missouri in spring and autumn on its way to and from its northern breeding grounds. It’s a good practice to remove dead wood, and pruning dead wood can be done anytime. It would be more effective to spray the wound caused by storm damage with an insecticide, rather than painting with a wound sealer, as those particular products are no longer recommended…

New York City, WPIX-TV, August 16, 2020: Trees on LI are turning brown after Isaias, NWS explains ‘interesting phenomenon’

The National Weather Service says there may be an “interesting phenomenon” affecting Long Island trees in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias. A photo taken on the south shore of Long Island on Saturday shows several trees and bushes with withered and brown leaves on one side and normal green on the other. “You can very clearly see that much of the south side of the vegetation looks as if it has progressed into late autumn with much of it turning brown. However, the north side of the trees and the bushes are still green!” the weather service tweeted along with the photo. What could cause this to happen? According to the NWS, the powerful wind produced by Isaias — with gusts up to 70 mph in some areas — caused ocean spray containing sea salt to blow onto the south side of plants and trees along the island’s south shore…

Billings, Montana, Gazette, August 16, 2020: Caldera chronicles: Tree rings record spikes in magmatic CO2 emissions at Yellowstone

The Mud Volcano thermal area is one of the more exciting places in Yellowstone because gas that discharges there has the most magmatic character of any thermal area in the region. In addition to fumaroles, the area contains a variety of other degassing features such as mud pots, steaming ground, and pools of bubbling water. At some pools the bubbling action is simply the result of boiling as liquid water transforms into steam. Other pools are cooler and exhibit vigorous degassing, and the water surface churns and splashes. This roiling action is due to gas forcefully discharging from vents at the bottom of the pool. The gas is a mixture of many components but primarily contains carbon dioxide (CO2). During the growing season trees take up CO2 from the air and use it along with water and light energy to create new wood. In winter months at Yellowstone the trees go dormant and wood production stops. The process begins anew in the spring when a new layer of wood starts to form. The character of this early wood is different from the wood in the later part of the growing season and makes a distinctive band called a growth ring. Since each ring generally indicates a single year of growth (although sometimes two rings, or none, are possible), it is possible to use tree rings to see how trees grew over time, and how they were affected by environmental conditions like fire, drought, and even volcanic gases…

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette, August 13, 2020: The derecho’s calling card, a tangle of trees

We take the trees for granted. Sure, in the spring when they leaf out or bloom we take some notice. And in the fall when they paint the landscape we enjoy the show. But this time of year they tend to fade into the background, a canopy of late summer green that goes unnoticed, unless we have to mow around them. Then came Monday and The Storm. Trees all around us were bent, broken, splintered, stripped and pulled out by their roots. They were twisted and smashed in our favorite parks. They fell dead in cemeteries and littered the fairways of golf courses. Trees whipped by 100 mile-per-hour gusts snapped power lines, blocked streets and fell on homes they had shaded for decades. In the middle of a pandemic, at a time when many of us have found solace outdoors, the derecho closed our parks, trails and even sidewalks. Thanks again, 2020. For all of the human and economic tragedies that accompanied the storm, from missing roofs to flattened crops, and the hardships that have followed, it’s the downed trees that are the calling card of this disaster. Everywhere you look there are trees destroyed or badly damaged, and branches piled high by homeowners trying to recover from nature’s madness. Shredded leaves are plastered everywhere…

Sacramento, California, KOVR-TV, August 14, 2020: Family claims they can’t get homeowners insurance because of city trees

A Modesto family says their homeowner’s insurance is dropping their coverage over a city tree, so they called Kurtis. The insurance company doesn’t like the branches hanging over the roof. When we called the city, they went out and inspected the property. The city said the trees are pruned properly, and if the insurance company needs them pruned further, they can apply for a permit to trim it themselves. “This just isn’t fair, and I don’t understand,” said Corrine Sawyer. “They’re city trees. These are their trees” said her sister, Shelley Farmer. The city of Modesto said it has 81,000 trees to maintain and a limited budget, admitting on average, each tree gets pruned once every 11 years. But if the city learns of a safety hazard, they said they’ll usually prune within a day or so. The city has agreed to talk with the family’s insurance company and explain the trees are not a hazard. We’ll see how the insurance company responds. The city issued the following statement: “The City maintains approximately 81,000 trees and our current cycle for maintaining (pruning) each tree is about 11 years; this is not acceptable, but our limited budget and resources simply does not allow for us to maintain trees more often. On the other hand, when we receive an inspection request, we get out to the trees sooner. If a tree poses a safety hazard, we prune as soon as possible, likely within a day or so…

New York City, WNBC-TV, August 13, 2020: Video Captures a ‘Bolt From the Blue’ Striking Palm Tree in Fla.

A camera inside a Florida man’s truck captured a bolt of lightning striking a nearby palm tree – and it wasn’t even raining. Jonathan Moore was working Monday afternoon in Lutz, a suburb of Tampa, when the lightning bolt struck a tree about 75-feet away. A loud boom can be heard in the video moments before the strike, which caused a single limb to fall. Meteorologists said storms were in the forecast, but skies were blue at the time of the strike. Lightning is common during thunderstorms, but what about in seemingly clear, blue skies? Experts call this occurrence a “bolt from the blue.” According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, a bolt from the blue is a flash from the side of thunderstorm clouds that travels a relatively long distance into the clear skies, and then angles down before striking the ground. These lightning flashes can travel several miles away from the thunderstorm…

Norfolk, Virginia, WAVY-TV, August 13, 2020: Neighbors want Norfolk to keep right-of-way trees off their homes

A Norfolk neighborhood says the city is neglecting its responsibility to keep trees on the right-of-way pruned so they don’t hit houses. It is a particular problem in the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. Residents complained about a tree that is clearly on the right-of-way, touching the home, complained and nothing happened. 10 On Your Side viewer Joe Ritchie is fed up. “This is a huge tree right here next to me. It’s on city property. The branches behind me cover power lines, and there’s also rats in the tree going up the tree to my neighbor’s apartment,” he said. What got Ritchie thinking was when he and others called the city to complain to prune back the trees for the next big storm, they got what has been described by the city as a standard return letting them know “estimated timeline for completion is 547 business days.” A year and a half. “You got to be kidding me. We pay taxes. I pay mine on time, and I know there’s a budget for it,” Ritchie said…

Chicago, Illinois, Sun Times, August 12, 2020: Chicago tree trimmers show during a destructive storm why there are none better

Last month, Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, was quoted by a local newspaper as saying: “We maintain an inefficient tree-trimming system, lose trees due to disease and opaque removal processes, and reinforce long-standing inequities in the delivery of city services.” Waguespack was piggybacking on a 2019 report by City Inspector General Joe Ferguson that said the city could save up to 60% on the average cost of trimming a tree. Waguespack and Aldermen George Cardenas, 12th, and Samantha Nugent, 39th, want to create a board to run a better forestry program. So where are the aldermen now? Here’s a novel idea: How about the three of them take a walk out their front doors and look at the devastation caused by Monday’s storm. Maybe talk to their constituents. Who has been out there cleaning up their wards? Must be the men and women of those “inefficient” city crews. Right, aldermen? Men and women who have been working 16-hour days. Who have been using heavy, high-powered chain saws, chippers and lifts to cut and remove trees blocking streets all across the city. Who are exhausted but still on the job because they are dedicated to the city they live in and work for. That’s right — every one of them lives in Chicago. They are not out-of-town contractors who have no stake in the city except on pay day. And, speaking of that, maybe someone should explain to the aldermen how the union that represents these men and women won the work several years back because city forestry workers come substantially cheaper than any private contractor…

Omaha, Nebraska, WOWT-TV, August 12, 2020: Omaha resident has close call with vacant lot’s falling tree limbs

As trees and limbs came crashing down across the metro during Monday’s storm, one homeowner had a close call but remains worried it could happen again. Near 41st and Decatur Streets, Kathleen Glover was left shaken but not surprised by the fast-moving storm. “I knew the minute I heard that big ole crack, it had to be one of these trees,” she said. Dangerous cottonwoods stand on the vacant lot next door and two years ago falling branches damaged her home. Then Monday’s near-miss left her feeling lucky — and angry. “If you can’t be responsible then stop buying lots because it’s not fair to the person that’s got a house in between or a house on the side,” she said. Three years ago, the city sent violation notices to the property owner Orchard Hill Neighborhood Association which led to tree trimming but not removal. The Mammel Foundation purchased a dozen empty lots with plans to revitalize the neighborhood. Nancy Mammel said she didn’t know about the city orders or the mess left in Kathleen’s yard Monday. “I want this cleaned up, and I want my front yard restored the way it was,” Kathleen said…

Palm Springs, California, KMIR-TV, August 10, 2020: Inmate Fire Crew Saves Largest Oak Tree in North America

Whenever we see wildfires in California, the biggest priority is always to save lives and property but for the Apple Fire, there was an unusual challenge: to save what some call a “national treasure”. It’s called the Champion Oak Tree and the name says it all. The tree is estimated to be between 800 and 1,000 years old and it almost didn’t make it another year but thanks to a special crew, it lives on. “They were going up to save the largest oak tree in North America,” Tim Krantz, the Botanic Garden Director at Oak Glen preserve, said. Krantz said when he woke up and saw the flames moving toward the tree, he “knew right away what we had to do.” Of course, he needed a team. A group of 30 inmates was assembled to help Krantz with the task. “It was a special crew, it was a convict crew.” They had no idea what they were getting into when it came to the hike to get there. “It’s 3,000 feet of vertical,” Krantz said. “It’s a 45 degree angle and we hit that slope at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, full sun.” The fire crew was lugging chainsaws, fuel, picks, shovels and more in full fire gear. “The guys get to the base of the tree and look up, it’s 43 feet in circumference, about 100 feet high and 100 feet wide,” he said. With the fire quickly approaching and water drops just a hundred meters up the slope from them, the team got to work…

Portland, Oregon, Willamette Week, August 12, 2020: East of 82nd Avenue, Portlanders Are Covered by Far Fewer Trees

Geoffrey Donovan says trees can help Portland fight crime. He realizes that might sound peculiar. But with the city locked in debates over police funding and gripped by a wave of gun violence, any relief would be welcome. And Donovan, a Portland research forester with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has conducted several studies showing a correlation between a neighborhood’s tree canopy and its crime rates. “Trees signal that a neighborhood is well cared for,” Donovan tells WW. “Neighborhoods that show signs of disorder send a subliminal signal. Buildings that had more trees around them had less crime.”And guess what East Portland lacks? Trees. Citywide, about one third of Portland is covered with trees. More specifically: 30.7% of the city has what experts call canopy coverage. This is measured by looking down from a bird’s-eye view at the top of the tree and measuring how far the leaves span out in all directions. But this canopy coverage is not distributed equally. Between 2010 and 2016, Portland Parks & Recreation conducted an inventory of streetside and park trees in most Portland neighborhoods. Outside of natural areas like Powell Butte, not a single neighborhood listed in the inventory report east of 82nd Avenue meets the 30.7% average citywide canopy coverage. The East Portland neighborhood with the highest percentage of canopy coverage is Powellhurst-Gilbert at 27%. The lowest in outer East Portland is Argay Terrace, at 13%. These neighborhoods also have a high population of low-income residents and people of color…

New York City, WCBS-TV, August 11, 2020: Demanding Answers: CBS2’s Marcia Kramer Helps Queens Homeowner Who Was Told City Tree That Fell On His House Couldn’t Be Removed For 23 Days

Juan Betancur walked around his Jamaica, Queens, home in a state of disbelief – disbelief that a city crew had actually shown up to deal with a massive oak tree that crashed his roof during Tropical Storm Isaias last week. Because when he tried calling 311 – and he did repeatedly – he got the brush off. The proverbial municipal cold shoulder, reported CBS2’s Marcia Kramer. By the city’s own admission there are sill thousands like Juan Betancur waiting for help. “We had called them three or four times a day. All you get is a report,” Betancur said. The report said they would be updated in 23 days. That’s 23 days with a hole in the roof and no way to fix it, and since it was a city tree, the city has to remove it or insurance won’t cover it. “I couldn’t believe it: 23 days. Unheard of when you’re living with your roof on the floor and thunderstorms are coming,” Betancur said. A spokesman for the Parks Department told CBS2 the agency received 21,000 calls for help after the storm, more than they receive in four entire months. They say 75% have been addressed, but that leaves over 5,000 people who still need help. Kramer demanded answers from Mayor Bill de Blasio. She told the mayor about 311’s cold shoulder. “He’s been having difficulty getting 311 to take his call, but they finally said we can’t get there for 23 days,” Kramer said. “Can you help this man? We sent a picture of the damage to your staff…”

Indianapolis, Indiana, Star, August 6, 2020: Lawrence man charged with federal hate crime against neighbor, accused of burning cross

A Lawrence man is facing a federal hate crime charge for allegedly using racial intimidation against a neighbor, who is Black. According to a news release from the Department of Justice, 50-year-old Shephard Hoehn became angry when a construction crew started removing a tree from the neighbor’s property on June 18. Hoehn, who is white, is accused of doing the following in an effort to intimidate the neighbor: placing a burning cross above the fence line and facing the neighbor’s property, displaying a swastika on the fence, displaying a machete next to the swastika, displaying a sign with a “variety of anti-Black racial slurs,” and loudly playing the song “Dixie” on repeat, according to the news release. FBI agents searched Hoehn’s home in July and said they found firearms and drug paraphernalia. They also learned he is a fugitive from a case in Missouri and not allowed to possess firearms, according to the release…

Staten Island, New York, Advance, August 11, 2020: Clifton residents suffer consequences after years of raising concerns about damaged trees

A small Staten Island neighborhood suffered the consequences of fallen trees after Tropical Storm Isaias last week despite years of raising their arboreal concerns with the city. Going back to 2010, residents of Talbot Place and Norwood Avenue in Clifton have placed 56 calls to 311 to complain about trees, according to city records. Two of those calls came shortly after Isaias brought down a large tree near the corner of those two streets. In total, the 56 complaints come from 22 addresses on the two blocks that account for less than half a mile of street. The fallen tree caused by Isaias damaged a home and downed power lines causing outages in the area. Multiple 311 complaints dating back to 2010 had been filed regarding street trees at the location of the damaged home. A spokesman for the city Department of Parks and Recreation, which is responsible for street tree care and maintenance, said the fallen tree had last been inspected July 7 and determined to be in “fair condition.” A 311 complaint from July 4 described a tree at the location as having a “branch crack” adding that it “will fall…”

Anaheim, California, Orange County Register, August 11, 2020: Isn’t my neighbor liable when his tree falls on my property? Ask the lawyer

Our neighbor for years has had a very tall, unkempt tree. It just fell on our yard, and caused plenty of damage. He is liable, right?
-C.D., Fountain Valley
A: Knee-jerk reaction: of course he is liable. More studied analytical response: Are you sure that is his tree? In California, the location of the trunk determines ownership; if it started out wholly on his property but the trunk had since extended to your side as well, there may be a level of shared ownership. Assuming the trunk is on his land only, did it fall of its own accord, or did intense weather blow it over, thereby raising an issue of “Act of God,” which could possibly absolve the neighbor of liability? A pragmatic suggestion: Contact your homeowner’s insurance company; if the neighbor is uncooperative, the insurer may fix things and go after the neighbor for reimbursement.
Q: Can we trim the branches from the tree next door that hangs far over our property? We have asked several times but have gotten nowhere
A: The answer to this question, like the first inquiry, seems basic common sense: If their tree is hanging over your yard and causing a nuisance, you should be able to trim it back, particularly when you have asked the neighbor to do so to no avail. The case law, however, has made this a little trickier than otherwise: You do not have an unconditional right to cut the encroaching limbs because you have to take into consideration the health of the tree. Bottom line: you have to act reasonably. You should not take actions that so harms the tree it cannot recover. Do what is needed, but make sure it does not harm or destroy the tree. If you cause injury to the tree, it may result in your being held accountable for at least the amount of harm caused thereby…

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, August 9, 2020: PG&E ordered to bolster power line inspections and tree-trimming oversight

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. must hire new tree-trimming supervisors, improve records about the age of risky electrical equipment and bolster the way it inspects high-voltage power lines under a recent order from a federal judge. U.S. District Judge William Alsup imposed the mandates Friday as additional conditions on PG&E’s probation arising from the deadly 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. It comes after months of back-and-forth among Alsup, PG&E and others as the judge sought further ways to help prevent the company from starting more major wildfires, such as those sparked by its equipment over the past five years. Alsup’s latest decision replaces an earlier and stricter order that could have made PG&E hire many more inspectors and force contractors who work on transmission towers to carry enough insurance to “cover losses suffered by the public should their inspections be deficient and thereby start a wildfire.” PG&E urged Alsup to reconsider that decision and proposed a more modest set of conditions in June after conferring with federal prosecutors and the company’s court-appointed monitor. Friday’s order adopts those conditions in full…

Phys.org, August 10, 2020: Fragmented forests: Tree cover, urban sprawl both increased in Southeast Michigan over the past 30 years

The extent of Southeast Michigan’s tree canopy and its urban sprawl both increased between 1985 and 2015, according to a new University of Michigan study that used aerial photos and satellite images to map individual buildings and small patches of street trees. The researchers described the increase in forested area across the region as a positive finding. But their analysis also revealed that the region’s forested lands grew increasingly fragmented due mainly to increased urban sprawl, interfering with the ability of plants and animals to disperse across the landscape. “Our results show that the forested landscapes of Southeast Michigan appear more fragmented and less cohesive in areas experiencing urban sprawl, in accordance with findings worldwide,” said study lead author Dimitrios Gounaridis, a postdoctoral research fellow at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability’s Urban Sustainability Research Group. “We found that low-density single-family housing, in particular, had a detrimental effect on the functionality of adjacent forested landscapes,” he said. “And the distance to these built-up patches appears to be a factor in determining the magnitude of the impact…”

Albany, New York, Times-Union, August 10, 2020: Judge tosses lawsuit filed over tree cutting at Costco site

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed in March over the clear cutting of trees from a site where Costco plans to building a new store. In a ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Mae D’Agostino concluded that the nearby residents who sued Pyramid Corp. over the tree cutting failed to show that Town Planning Director Kenneth Kovalchik was not within his authority to allow the March 26 harvest. Within hours of getting the go-ahead, crews cleared trees from 2.5 acres of land next to Crossgates Mall. After residents alerted Town Supervisor Peter Barber later that day, however, he imposed a cease-and-desist order since the area was supposed to be undergoing an environmental review. The site, owned by Crossgates Mall owner Pyramid Co., is slated to house a Costco store. Another nearby site is also set to be developed into a 222-unit apartment complex. It would be the first time the wildly popular Costco opened one of its warehouse stores in the Capital Region. Both are next to the mall on Western Avenue. Residents Thomas and Lisa Hart and Kevin and Sarah McDonald as well as Red Kap Sales, which operates a nearby gas station, alleged that Pyramid violated the federal Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts, as well as the state Environmental Quality Review Act, when the trees were cut down…

New York City, Patch, August 10, 2020: Cuomo Threatens PSEG License

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday threatened to revoke the licenses of two major New York utilities in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, which left hundreds of thousands in the dark for days. Additionally, he said more than 100 school districts have not submitted plans to reopen in the fall and will not be allowed to if they fail to submit them. Cuomo’s news conference came as about 73,000 homes and businesses in New York were still without power Monday, including 25,000 on Long Island and 20,000 in the Hudson Valley. PSEG and Con Edison did a “lousy job” preparing for the tropical storm, Cuomo said. Isaias lashed the region Tuesday, downing, uprooting and toppling numerous trees, many of which were massive and stood for decades. On Long Island, over 400,000 people had no power in the days following the storm. Cuomo said the state’s Public Service Commission is investigating the utilities’ response to the storm and is still obtaining the facts about what happened. But even so, he stressed he was “personally disappointed with them,” and that he has instructed the commission to be “as aggressive as the law will allow.” This includes levying fines, penalties and ordering restitution. “Because New Yorkers are fed up,” Cuomo said. The essential service of a utility is preparing for and recovering from major storms, he said…

Staten Island, New York, Advance, August 9, 2020: Tree-mendous! Tree damaged on S.I. property prompts $355K lawsuit vs. landscaper

How much is a tree worth? More than $75,000, one Port Richmond property owner contends. The owner, 88 Cortlandt LLC, is suing K&J Landscaping & Tree Service, alleging the company destroyed a tree on its land while working on an adjoining property. 88 Cortlandt is not only suing K&J for the tree’s purported worth, but for an additional $10,000 to restore its property. And, the plaintiff maintains, it’s entitled to triple damages under state law, raising the demand to more than $255,000. Add in $100,000 for a civil trespassing claim, and the total amount of damages sought is $355,000. Recently filed in state Supreme Court, St. George, the suit stems from an incident that allegedly occurred sometime in May. According to a civil complaint, K&J was retained to do work on a neighboring property on Cortlandt Street. While in the process of doing so, company workers “cut, removed, injured and destroyed … a large tree which was located on plaintiff’s property,” the complaint alleges. The type of tree is not specified in the suit…

Salisbury, Maryland, Post, August 9, 2020: Fig trees are gaining popularity in home gardens

Many homes in Rowan County have included fig trees in their plantings to supplement their fresh produce. Most plants are located in a protected area such as a barn or against house or other buildings. Figs are gaining popularity as a small fruit in home gardens and often incorporated into landscapes. Growing figs in our area can be a challenge because of erratic weather patterns. Figs are actually considered a sub-tropical fruit and are often damaged when temperatures fall below 20 degrees. This fruit tree has done well this season with above-average summer temperatures and ample rainfall. “Celeste” is a hardy fig variety that is violet or light brown fruit containing strawberry pink pulp. The fruit can be enjoyed fresh or used or making fig jams or preserves. Celeste figs ripen in mid-July. “Brown Turkey” fig cultivar is another popular variety with light coppery brown skin and amber pulp. This popular bush produces a heavy crop of medium-sized fruit in August for fresh use and is also excellent for preserves. Brown Turkey also adapts well as a container plant…

Washington, D.C., Post, August 8, 2020: For a D.C. park to be reborn, 63 trees must die before others take their place

The bright August sunlight revealed an arboreal massacre in downtown Washington’s largest park. Limbs were strewn about. The dead trees were left where they fell, or fed into a machine that shredded them into bits. Survivors stood silently by, some of them ominously marked with an “X” for possible removal. At the corner of 14th and K streets in Northwest, Franklin Square’s trees, many of them decades old, were being weeded out. And it was all part of a plan. For Franklin Square to be saved, much of it has to be destroyed, and 63 trees are going down with it. The square was fenced off in June for a long-planned year-long renovation — a $13.9 million joint project between D.C. and the National Park Service, which controls the five-acre parcel. With a pavilion, fountain, art exhibit space, children’s play area and public restrooms, officials say Franklin Square will no longer be just a place to wait for a bus but an outdoor destination like Manhattan’s Bryant Park. But first things first: The trees must come down…

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Star Tribune, August 7, 2020: Overhead powerlines, trees, and exposed connectors: who fixes what

The most common issues we find with overhead powerlines during home inspections are trees rubbing up against them and exposed connectors that present an immediate shock or electrocution hazard. When we find either one of these conditions, we recommend repair. The question that always follows is “Who’s responsible for that?” According to Xcel Energy, tree branches in contact with the overhead powerlines between the pole and house are the responsibility of the homeowner. Of course, this is only fair. Tree maintenance should be the responsibility of the homeowner, not the power company. Before trimming trees around overhead powerlines, you should contact the power company to have your service temporarily disconnected. The one exception is if a tree branch falls onto one of the overhead powerlines. If this happens, it’s considered an immediate safety hazard. Xcel Energy will take care of this issue at no charge to the owner…

Stamford, Connecticut, Advocate, August 6, 2020: Isaias knocked down a tree in your yard. What do you do now?

With high winds and lashing rain, Tropical Storm Isaias pummeled Connecticut Tuesday afternoon, leaving more than 800,000 without power. Like Irene and Sandy in previous years, much of the damage came from trees and limbs uprooted or broken off by powerful winds that dropped power lines, smashed into homes and crushed cars or left driveways and roads impassable. With the winds abated and Connecticut residents left surveying the damage, police and fire departments are still urging caution. “Trees and wires are continuing to come down well after (Tuesday’s) storm. Some wires are not live, but others are, and there is no way to tell the difference between the two visually,” Bethel Police said in a Facebook post. If a tree falls on a house, immediately call 911, said Andrew Ellis, fire chief for Brookfield. Firefighters will check the damage, often with a municipal building inspector, to make sure it’s safe, he explained. If power and phone service are knocked out as well, he said residents should find a neighbor or someone else who can reach first responders. If a tree has come down on a homeowner’s property without taking any wires with it, whose responsibility is it? The answer is complicated…

Nassau, Long Island, New York, Newsday, August 6, 2020: What homeowners should know if a neighbor’s tree falls on their property

If a neighbor’s tree falls on your house, what do you do? That’s the question many Long Island homeowners are facing in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, which brought trees and branches crashing down onto homes and power lines when it swept across the region Tuesday. Local insurance experts — including a broker, adjuster and attorney — said the first step is to make sure the property is safe. Then photograph the damage, keep records of expenses and report the damage to your insurance company as soon as you can — since your insurer, not your neighbor’s, will handle the claim, the experts said. Insurance will typically cover tree removal if it causes structural damage or a safety problem such as a blocked driveway. But if the tree fell without causing damage, insurance typically will pay $500 to $1,000 for debris removal depending on the policy, and if there are additional costs it’s up to the neighbors to work out a deal to pay for them, said Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group. She said a homeowner’s insurance rates typically would not rise as a result of one claim, but multiple claims could affect rates…

Chicago, Illinois, Tribune, August 6, 2020: Beloved ‘Keebler’ tree to come down in Western Springs

Western Springs officials know a new tree cannot replace residents’ beloved “Keebler” tree that will be removed as part of the reconstruction of Prospect Avenue, but they plan to help preserve their memories of the tree. Village officials became aware of the tree’s poor condition in May after they had a firm do a tree inventory. The firm rated the catalpa tree, estimated to be between 80 and 100 years old, on the corner of Prospect and Reid Street as a 5 on a scale of 1 to 6, where 6 is a dead tree. The low rating was based on the findings that 50 percent or more of the tree was dead wood and the tree trunk was basically hollow to the ground due to decay, said Casey Biernacki, Western Springs’ assistant director of municipal services.The tree has grown so that ComEd’s power lines run through the canopy. “The tree has undergone a lot of aggressive trimming from ComEd,” which the utility has the right to do, Biernacki said. “Over the last 50 to 70 years, it really has taken a beating from ComEd,” he said…

Syracuse, New York, Post-Standard, August 6, 2020: Destructive ash tree pest found for first time in Adirondacks

The destructive emerald ash borer continues its march across Upstate New York, appearing for the first time in the Adirondacks. The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that the beetle that kills ash trees was found recently at the Warren County Canoe Launch, on the Schroon River in the town of Chester. “It’s very sad to hear that the emerald ash borer has reached Warren County,” Frank Thomas, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, said in a news release. “The spread of this invasive will be absolutely devastating to our ash trees and substantially degrade our beautiful forests.” New York has about 900 million ash trees, about 7% of all trees in the state. Ash comprise a smaller percentage of trees in the Adirondacks, DEC said. The borer has now been found in all but nine of Upstate New York counties. The emerald ash borer adult eats the leaves of the ash tree, then lays eggs just beneath the bark, starting at the top of the tree and working its way down. The tiny larvae eat their way around the tree just beneath the bark, killing the tree by cutting off the nutrients that are pulled from the roots into the canopy…

New York City, Staten Island Advance, August 5, 2020: All hands on deck as residents, agencies, responders help navigate Isaias’ tree chaos

A roadblock near a local hospital prompting residents to take action; a Jeep crushed under an uprooted tree in Annadale, and thousands who remain without power Wednesday across Staten Island. Felled trees on property, streets and power lines continue to cause chaos after Isaias, and it’s so far been a joint effort including Con Edison, Emergency Management, the FDNY, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the city’s Parks Department — and even residents — to navigate the situation. Said Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo (R-Mid Island): “We need as much help as we can,” he said. “We’ve got to get these trees out of the streets, out of wires that are dangerous.” More than 1,000 downed trees have been reported to 311 on Staten Island alone after Isaias swept through the borough, up from a total hovering around 900 as of 7 p.m. Tuesday. Many of them uprooted by what’s been described as the strongest wind gusts since Hurricane Sandy…

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, KYW-TV, August 5, 2020: What You Need To Know About Filing Insurance Claims For Tree-Related Damage

Across the region, cleanup is underway following Tropical Storm Isaias, and many home and car owners are dealing with the aftermath of downed trees. If you’ve experienced tree-related damage, Eyewitness News has information on filing an insurance claim for repairs. There’s always a lot of confusion when it comes to these types of claims so here’s what you need to know. Trees down in yards, on houses and on top of cars — it’s inevitable after a powerful storm. But what’s covered by your insurance and what’s not depends on a number of factors. If your tree falls on your house, your insurance company will pay for the removal of the tree from your home and repairs to your home. If your tree falls on your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s homeowner policy is going to be responsible. It’s considered an act of God and your neighbors should file a claim with their insurance company and vice versa…

The National Interest, August 5, 2020: Can Infested Trees Be Repurposed as a Building Material?

A large portion of North America’s 8.7 billion ash trees are now infested by a beetle called the emerald ash borer. Since its discovery in the U.S. in 2002, the emerald ash borer has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees, drastically transforming entire forest ecosystems in the process. As of October 2018, infestations have been found in 35 U.S. states and several Canadian provinces. Ash wood is used as a material for furniture, flooring and baseball bats, and in the past, was used in heavy timber construction. The larvae of the emerald ash borer hatch underneath the tree’s bark, which hinders the plant’s ability to transport nutrients throughout its trunk, causing it to decay. The infestation has left arborists, researchers and scientists scrambling to find a way to slow the spread or repurpose the infested trees. With emerald ash borers creeping into Cornell University’s Arnot Research Forest in upstate New York, we wanted to see if we could figure out a method to make use of dying ash trees as building material…

North Platte, Nebraska, Telegraph, August 5, 2020: How to help lonely trees in modern landscapes

In our modern landscapes, trees often get planted as lone individuals surrounded by a sea of lawn. This is less than ideal for trees — and vice-versa. Trees typically grow in forests where little grass is present. When trees are placed in lawns and those lawns are excessively fussed over (and we Americans love to fuss over our lawns) trees can be sitting ducks for such things as mower and trimmer damage as well as herbicide injury. Another issue is underground as tree roots and lawn roots don’t always mix well. Lawn soils are often wet and compacted which favors grasses while tree roots prefer loose soils rich in microbial and fungal life. This is too bad, because we can have both a nice, highly-functional lawn and healthy trees if we do it right. One place to start is by surrounding trees with companion plantings that create an island of landscape. Trees in landscape beds will suffer fewer conflicts with lawn care and the soils typically become more bioactive and sustaining for the trees and the other companion plants that share the rooting zone. Tree islands can be small — such as a few perennials or groundcovers in the mulch ring around the tree. But generally speaking, the larger they are the more benefits they provide. Good companion plants include shrubs of all kinds, as well as many perennials, ornamental grasses and various groundcovers. When the trees are young, the companion plants should be sun-loving. But as the trees grow, the companion plantings can transition to more shade-tolerant types…

Manchester, New Hampshire, Union Leader, August 4, 2020: Clear-cutting of trees leads to cease and desist order at Bedford apartment site

After numerous trees were cut prematurely, a cease and desist order was recently issued to the developers of the future Bow Lane apartment complex behind Bedford High School. In addition to clearing trees on the site prior to final planning board approval, the limits of the clearing exceeded what was conditionally granted by town planners. “A letter of violation and a cease and desist order was issued to the property owners and all construction activity at this time has stopped at the site,” said Planning Director Becky Hebert. “ … At this point, construction can’t begin again until we have an amended site plan that proposes some restoration and revegetation of the areas that have been cleared.” One year ago, despite a petition with more than 1,100 opponents, developers Dick Anagnost and Bill Greiner received conditional approval to construct three, three-story apartment buildings behind the high school — a controversial project that was debated for more than a year and will result in 93 workforce housing apartment units…

Yahoo.com, August 4, 2020: Making the most of a tree epidemic

A large portion of North America’s 8.7 billion ash trees are now infested by a beetle called the emerald ash borer. Since its discovery in the U.S. in 2002, the emerald ash borer has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees, drastically transforming entire forest ecosystems in the process. As of October 2018, infestations have been found in 35 U.S. states and several Canadian provinces. Ash wood is used as a material for furniture, flooring and baseball bats, and in the past, was used in heavy timber construction. The larvae of the emerald ash borer hatch underneath the tree’s bark, which hinders the plant’s ability to transport nutrients throughout its trunk, causing it to decay. The infestation has left arborists, researchers and scientists scrambling to find a way to slow the spread or repurpose the infested trees. With emerald ash borers creeping into Cornell University’s Arnot Research Forest in upstate New York, we wanted to see if we could figure out a method to make use of dying ash trees as building material…

Phys.org, August 4, 2020: In a warming world, New England’s trees are storing more carbon

Climate change has increased the productivity of forests, according to a new study that synthesizes hundreds of thousands of carbon observations collected over the last quarter century at the Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research site, one of the most intensively studied forests in the world. The study, published today in Ecological Monographs, reveals that the rate at which carbon is captured from the atmosphere at Harvard Forest nearly doubled between 1992 and 2015. The scientists attribute much of the increase in storage capacity to the growth of 100-year-old oak trees, still vigorously rebounding from colonial-era land clearing, intensive timber harvest, and the 1938 Hurricane—and bolstered more recently by increasing temperatures and a longer growing season due to climate change. Trees have also been growing faster due to regional increases in precipitation and atmospheric carbon dioxide, while decreases in atmospheric pollutants such as ozone, sulfur, and nitrogen have reduced forest stress. “It is remarkable that changes in climate and atmospheric chemistry within our own lifetimes have accelerated the rate at which forest are capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” says Adrien Finzi, Professor of Biology at Boston University and a co-lead author of the study…

Butte, Montana, Standard, August 4, 2020: Trees: Live or let die?

What the right hand giveth, The left hand taketh away. Martin Luther’s Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount (translation). If there is a photo in the newspaper, any newspaper, to trivialize Earth Day, it is one of tree planting, preferably with children involved. The Montana Standard recently had an article “Protect a Tree.” The Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) has spent a small fortune planting trees locally along with their smaller cousins, shrubs. Then on the Duhame property near Miles Crossing purchased by NRDP and bestowed upon FWP, what do my wondering eyes behold but a bunch of felled Douglas firs? I immediately scent the pejorative “conifer encroachment,” a favorite FWP term used to blame, among other things, the sage-hen decline. It’s an all-purpose villain! What they are encroaching upon I’m not entirely sure. But a few years ago, I read in the Standard that NRDP was funding the destruction of other trees in the name of Conifer Encroachment into riparian areas up Little Basin Creek. As a restoration professional for 45+ years, I thought the replacement of plants needing an enhanced soil-moisture regime with those suited to drier sites resulted from a combination of stream downcutting and the floodplain aggrading. This effectively dries previously wet sites. I must have played hooky the day the UM Forestry School taught “conifer encroachment…”

San Francisco, California, Courthouse News, August 3, 2020: Ninth Circuit Blocks Logging Project in Burned-Out Part of California Forest

Eight months after a federal judge green-lighted a roadside logging project to remove fire-damaged trees on 7,000 acres in Mendocino National Forest, the Ninth Circuit on Monday reversed that decision and issued a preliminary injunction to stop it. The majority of a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel found the U.S. Forest Service should have studied the potential impact of logging on the environment first, rejecting arguments that the project fell within an exemption under the National Environmental Policy Act for roadside repair and maintenance. “We’re very glad that the court saw that the Forest Service has been abusing this categorical exclusion and has just gone too far with that,” said attorney Matt Kenna, of Public Interest Environmental Law in Durango, Colorado, who represents a conservation group fighting against the project…”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, WHYY-TV, August 3, 2020: ‘Buffer Your Stream’ program asks Pa. landowners to plant trees, boost water quality

Worried about water quality in your stream? Plant a tree next to it, says the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, or DNCR. The DCNR recently announced a new stream buffer program, urging 10,000 Pennsylvania landowners who live along the state’s streams, creeks, and rivers to plant native trees near the water’s edge. The term “stream buffers” may sound new, but the concept isn’t — it applies to any trees and shrubs that are deliberately planted along a waterway. They provide nutrients for native insects and fish to flourish and slow the spread of other invasive plant species. Their roots also stabilize the bank, reduce soil erosion, and help to filter chemical fertilizers and other pollutants that would otherwise go directly into the water. Why is the state encouraging landowners to plant them now? “The DCNR has made a more concerted effort recently because of the efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, as well as all of the surrounding watershed,” said Teddi Stark, who manages both the riparian buffer and watershed forestry program for the department. “It’s not necessarily super common knowledge that trees are really good for streams,” she added, “but they’re what form the basis of the food chain for stream ecosystems. They intercept pollution, they prevent erosion… [trees are] very multifaceted, and very essential to stream health…”

Omaha, Nebraska, WOWT-TV, August 3, 2020: West Omaha property owner upset after contractors cut down his trees

A west Omaha homeowner near 144th and Shirley Streets claims a new neighbor has gone too far. But it’s not your typical property line dispute. The neighborhood called Harvey Oaks has one less tree and property owner Jason Harre says it shouldn’t have been cut down. “It’s well within the property line on my parcel,” Harre said. Harre got photos of tree cutters who work for a subcontractor of Applied Underwriters, which is developing the land north of the neighborhood. “I understand they have to clean up their land of entry but this our property line and it’s ridiculous. They can come onto my property and cut down so many trees that have been here for so long,” he said. Former city forester now consulting arborist Phil Pierce counted two dozen trees removed on Harre’s property. Pierce tells 6 News several were not cut properly and he saw limbs trimmed too far from the trunk. Harre says the contractor marked the property and an oak tree is clearly his. And it shouldn’t have been confused with a nuisance volunteer tree…

Lansing, Michigan, State of Michigan, August 3, 2020: Check trees in August for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle

This year, many Michiganders have found time to reacquaint themselves with the outdoors. Whether you spend time walking, hiking or exploring neighborhood parks, you can help protect Michigan’s trees by spending a little of your outdoors time checking for signs of the Asian longhorned beetle. August is Tree Check Month, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is asking the public to look for and report any signs of this invasive pest that’s not native to Michigan and could cause harm to our environment and economy. In late summer and early fall, adult Asian longhorned beetles drill perfectly round, 3/8-inch holes to emerge from within tree trunks and limbs, where they spend their larval stage chewing through the heartwood. After a brief mating period, female beetles chew oval depressions in trunks or branches to deposit eggs. Sometimes a material resembling wood shavings can be seen at or below exit holes or coming from cracks in an infested tree’s bark…

Woodland, California, Daily Democrat, August 2, 2020: Woodland foundation maps city’s largest valley oak trees

Due to the ravages of time, development pressures, over-watering, agriculture and smaller planting spaces in new neighborhoods, the prevalence and visibility of Woodland’s namesake tree, the valley oak, has diminished over the arc of history. In 2018 the Woodland Tree Foundation counted 880 valley oaks over 12 inches in diameter throughout the city’s 15 square miles. However, Foundation members seeking more definitive data, recently used GIS mapping software, to learn the precise locations and attributes of Woodland’s largest valley oaks with a diameter of at least 40 inches. As a result, the Foundation has learned there are 200 trees of this size in the city. All can now be identified and located on the Foundation’s website: woodlandtree.org. These are Woodland’s true heritage trees, many of which are as old as the town’s American settlement in the 1850s, according to members of the Foundation…

Norwalk, Connecticut, News12, August 2, 2020: Tree services see increase in business ahead of Isaias

Tree services in Connecticut say that with Isaias taking aim at the Northeast, they’re preparing to handle its potential aftermath. Experts recommend being proactive in the days leading up to a big storm to minimize the chances of major damage. K & J Tree Service says it has seen an increase in business and is performing extra safety inspections. The service says it’s looking for cracked limbs, dead liters and anything that could be a hazard during the upcoming storm. Ed Grant, the chief operations manager, says the biggest thing is to be aware of potential dangers in your yard. K & J Tree Service says it has 24-hour emergency service, which people will more than likely need in the next few days. The company says just because a tree is full and looks healthy doesn’t mean it’s not hollow and decaying…

Stockton, California, KCRA-TV, August 1, 2020: Tree worker dies after truck tips over, Stockton police say

A man was killed while tree trimming in Stockton on Saturday when the truck he was working in tipped over, police said. The incident happened in the 9700 block of Hickock Drive around 8:14 a.m., the Stockton Police Department said. The 52-year-old man was inside the boom lift cutting a tree. As the lift was lowering, the truck tipped over and the man fell out, police said. Medics arrived shortly after and the man was pronounced dead at the scene, police said…

Tulsa, Oklahoma, World, August 1, 2020: Catch Dutch elm disease early to save your tree

Q: I have an American Elm that started looking like it had a problem and then died a few weeks later. What in the world happened?
A: The culprit was likely Dutch elm disease. I was speaking with Jen Olson of the OSU Plant Disease & Insect Diagnostic Lab recently and she said she was seeing more Dutch elm disease this year than in recent years, which is too bad because it’s one of the most destructive tree diseases in North America. Dutch elm disease was first discovered in the Netherlands in the early 1900s, but it didn’t take long for it to make its way to the U.S. It arrived around 1930 on beetles who were hitching a ride on some logs headed our way to make furniture. Quarantine helped control the disease until 1941, but the nation then became more focused on fighting a war. Some estimates suggest there were approximately 77 million elms in North America in the early ’30s. By 1989, more than 75% of those trees were lost. Dutch elm disease grows in the xylem of the tree. The xylem is the tissue that helps bring water up from the roots throughout the entire tree. You typically start to see evidence of Dutch elm disease in the upper branches with leaves gradually browning, then yellowing and eventually getting dry and brittle…

Worcester, Massachusetts, Patch, July 30, 2020: New Beech Tree Leaf Disease Found In Worcester

Beech leaf disease was first found in Plymouth in June. State forestry officials later found the disease in Worcester and Blandford. The disease first emerged in the U.S. in 2012 in Ohio. The disease is associated with a parasite called Litylenchus crenatae, which causes leaves to become weak, sometimes leading to tree death, according to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. The state will survey Beech trees across the commonwealth for signs of the disease. Beech trees are found widely across New England. The three main species, American beech, European beech, and Oriental beech, can all be impacted by the leaf disease. It’s unclear how the disease spreads, and how long it takes for a tree to show symptoms…

Battle Ground, Washington, Reflector, July 30, 2020: Public asked to check trees for invasive species in August

Throughout the month of August, the Washington Invasive Species Council and the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are asking the public to take a couple of minutes to check trees in their communities for invasive insects. August is the peak time of year that wood-boring insects are most often spotted outside of trees. “State and federal agencies do a fantastic job at preventing the introduction of invasive species to the United States, but occasionally some slip through,” Executive Coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council Justin Bush said in a news release. “When a new invasive species is introduced, we need to know as quickly as possible so we can stop its spread.” Invasive species are non-native organisms that include plants, animals and diseases. When introduced to a new environment, they do not have natural predators or diseases to keep their growth in check. Once established, they may damage the economy, environment, recreation and sometimes human health…

Phoenix, Arizona, The Cronkite News, July 30, 2020: Proposal to protect Joshua trees from climate change proves divisive

Named for the biblical figure Joshua by Mormon pioneers who saw its outstretched limbs as a guide to their westward travels, the Joshua tree is an enduring icon of the Southwest. In tiny Yucca Valley, California, the spiny succulents that once guided pioneers through the Mojave Desert still adorn the landscape, but as climate change threatens their future, residents are increasingly at odds over their preservation. Some in the town of roughly 20,000 say that by listing the Joshua tree – which actually is a yucca – as threatened, new restrictions will negatively affect the town’s economy, while others view the protections as necessary to ensure the survival of Yucca brevifolia, which is native to the Mojave Desert. In October, Brendan Cummings, the conservation director of the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a petition to have the western Joshua tree listed as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act…

The Conversation, July 30, 2020: Are young trees or old forests more important for slowing climate change?

Forests are thought to be crucial in the fight against climate change – and with good reason. We’ve known for a long time that the extra CO₂ humans are putting in the atmosphere makes trees grow faster, taking a large portion of that CO₂ back out of the atmosphere and storing it in wood and soils. But a recent finding that the world’s forests are on average getting “shorter and younger” could imply that the opposite is happening. Adding further confusion, another study recently found that young forests take up more CO₂ globally than older forests, perhaps suggesting that new trees planted today could offset our carbon sins more effectively than ancient woodland. How does a world in which forests are getting younger and shorter fit with one where they are also growing faster and taking up more CO₂? Are old or young forests more important for slowing climate change? We can answer these questions by thinking about the lifecycle of forest patches, the proportion of them of different ages and how they all respond to a changing environment…

Johnson City, New York, WBNG-TV, July 29, 2020: ‘Tis the season for Christmas tree farmers

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…well for tree farmers it is. They’re putting in work almost year-round to get your Christmas tree ready for December. After Christmas, farmers get a few months off. Then come March, things start to pick back up. At Morgan Hillside Tree Farm in Windsor, that’s when planting begins. “We plant every place that we’ve lost a tree to harvest. Even if we’re going to have a tree where we think we’re going to harvest in the next year or two, we’ll start a seedling in between the two of them. That way, we can get a little bit of a jump on things,” said owner Mark Morgan. Summer is the real marathon for tree farmers. “It’s all hot and sticky, there’s bugs and bees and all sorts of stuff you have to deal with this time of year, but it’s part of farming,” said Morgan. June is when mowing starts at the farm. “We let all of the animals get their babies in so to speak, and then we start mowing and then we’re getting ready for shearing which starts very late June, early July and goes for about three weeks,” said Morgan. Shearing may be the most important part — it’s what gives the tree the perfect shape. “The trees when they grow, they’ll kind of get out of the traditional shape of a Christmas tree, which is kind of a cone shape. So what we do is keep them within those small parameters and make them look as good as they possibly can for Christmas,” said Morgan…

American Association for the Advancement of Science, EurekAlert, July 29, 2020: Hot urban temperatures and tree transpiration

Shade from urban trees has long been understood to offer respite from the urban heat island effect, a phenomenon that can result in city centers that are 1-3 degrees Centigrade warmer than surrounding areas. Less frequently discussed, however, are the effects of tree transpiration in combination with the heterogeneous landscapes that constitute the built environment. Writing in BioScience, Joy Winbourne and her colleagues present an overview of the current understanding of tree transpiration and its implications, as well as areas for future research. Their work, derived from tree sap flow data, reveals the complexity and feedbacks inherent in trees’ and urban zones’ responses to extreme heating events. Dr. Winbourne joins us on this episode of BioScience Talks to discuss the newly published article, as well as directions for future research and the prospects for using trees to better mitigate urban heat in the face of a changing climate…

Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times, July 29, 2020: St. Petersburg Banyan tree removal draws protest

When the crew showed up Wednesday to remove a Banyan tree on Granville Court N, they weren’t the only ones there. More than a dozen neighbors and members of the Florida Indigenous Rights and Environmental Equality group gathered to demonstrate against the removal of a Banyan tree between two homes near the intersection of Ninth Avenue N. Protesters bore signs that said “Save the Trees” and “Protect the Earth” as the tree removal company, El-Cheapo, began cutting off the branches of the estimated 57-foot tree. The Banyan tree has a sacred meaning to the group, said Alyssa Gallegos, 29, who has a tattoo of a Banyan on her back. “They were here long before us,” she said. “These trees are no one’s property.” The indigenous rights group also burned sage and prayed after the El-Cheapo crew members left for the day. But the crew was set to return. The job will take a couple more days. “To us, this is like killing our grandfather,” said member Alicia Norris, 50…

Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram, July 29, 2020: Facing rapid development, Arlington plans measures to preserve trees ‘unique’ to city

More than 25 years after Arlington adopted its first ordinance to preserve trees, City Council members and environmental advocates are leading an effort to update the ordinance in the face of rapid residential and commercial development. Spearheaded by Arlington Council Member Sheri Capehart and the council’s Environmental Task Force, the movement to amend the city’s tree policies has spanned more than six months of presentations and debate. The central goal? To encourage real estate developers to preserve trees, particularly those native to Arlington, rather than cut them down and plant replacements elsewhere. “With every development, there are trees that are removed and that is an irreplaceable loss,” Richard Gertson, Arlington’s assistant director of planning and development services, said. “There’s no time like the present to recognize that fact and say: Let’s make the effort now, going forward, to try and encourage preservation and encourage education of the public on the importance of preservation.” Council members and environmentalists hope that amending tree policies will allow Arlington to preserve more of the Cross Timbers ecoregion, which spans from southeastern Kansas into central Oklahoma and central Texas. The city is in the eastern Cross Timbers, a hardwood upland forest that is home to trees like the post oak, a slow-growing species that has adapted to extreme droughts and often lives for hundreds of years…

The Weather Network, July 28, 2020: New study finds lightning destroys 832 million trees each year in tropics alone

Lighting is causing significant damage to ecosystems, damaging or killing more than 800 million trees each year in the tropics alone, according to a new study out of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). Based on ground and satellite data, researchers were able to estimate there are more than 100 million lightning strikes on land each year in tropical regions. According to the authors, the findings are significant, given the challenges associated with studying lightning. Because of this, its ability to alter ecosystems is often overlooked in favour of other destructive events like storms, drought, or fire. Even a single lightning strike can impact an ecosystem. Past research suggests one strike damages approximately 23.6 trees, leading to the eventual death of about 5.5 of them. For the current research, scientists analyzed the impact of about 92 lightning strikes, estimating lightning damages approximately 832 million trees in the tropics alone each year. An estimated 25% of those trees die…

Phys.org,July 24, 2020: Understanding why trees are dying may be key to locking up carbon

Rising tree deaths may be reducing the ability of many forests worldwide to lock up carbon by pulling in greenhouse gases from the air. To properly grasp what this means for carbon budgets, scientists need to solve the puzzle of why trees are dying—and how they respond to change. ‘There are widespread observations of increasing tree mortality due to changing climate and land use,’ according to new research. This appears to be transforming woodland habitats, with trees getting younger and shorter in many forests, the authors add. Estimates suggest that forests have absorbed up to 30% of anthropogenic carbon emissions in the past few decades. Though the overall effects of tree loss on the carbon cycle are complex because old trees and the young ones that replace them take up carbon at different rates, rising mortality appears to be affecting forests’ ability to lock up carbon. The researchers in the new study think that higher mortality rates may begin to outweigh the capacity of remaining and new trees to maintain that uptake at the same level—and potentially lead to an overall reduction of canopy cover and biomass. ‘It’s quite concerning, because at the moment, two to three of every 10 molecules of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere come back into the forests, but we don’t know how it’s going to continue into the future,’ said Dr. Thomas Pugh, an environmental scientist at the University of Birmingham, UK…

International Business Times, July 28, 2020: Christmas Tree Recall 2020: Over 100,000 Artificial Trees Recalled As Burn Hazard

Christmas in July celebrations may go up in smoke this year after Home Accents Holiday recalled over 100,000 artificial Christmas trees because they have a potential burn hazard. The company issued the recall because the Christmas trees’ foot-pedal controller can overheat. Home Accents Holiday has received 509 reports of overheating and one report of a burn incident from the recalled Christmas trees. The recall affects Home Accents Holiday artificial trees with mode-switching foot-pedal controllers. The Christmas trees are 7.5- and 8-feet tall artificial pine trees with model numbers W14N0126, W14N0127, W14N0148, W14N0149, and W14N0157.SKU numbers for the recalled trees can be found on the product label of the tree’s cord and include 1004391988, 1004147107, 1004363928, 1004213736, 1004363929, 1004213737, 1004213744, and 1004213742. The affected trees were sold at Home Depot from June 2019 to December 2019 for about $80 to $360. Consumers should stop using the Christmas trees’ foot-pedal controller immediately and dispose of it…

Associated Press, July 28, 2020: Colorado tree selected for Christmas at US Capitol

A Colorado tree has been selected to move to the U.S. Capitol Building to be displayed over the Christmas holiday, a U.S. Forest official said Monday. The acting regional forester for the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region, Jennifer Eberlien, said in a conference call that included Colorado Gov. Jared Polis that a Capitol architect will make the official announcement in a few days. The Christmas tree will make its way from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests to the West Lawn of the Capitol Building, where it will be decorated and displayed, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported. The tree’s specific location is expected to be withheld until fall for security purposes. It will be cut down some time in autumn. The tree is expected to be 65 to 80 feet (20 to 24 meters) tall. Polis said that the tree will likely be an Engelmann spruce. “Colorado is proud to contribute part of our natural beauty to the United States Capitol in Washington,” Polis said. The coronavirus pandemic is complicating some of the pageantry the tree is usually afforded, officials said. The winning tree is usually cut down in a public event, but this year’s ceremony is uncertain…

New York City, The New York Times, July 27, 2020: Can Trees Live Forever? New Kindling for an Immortal Debate

Trees do not pay taxes. Some seem to avoid death as well. Many of the world’s most ancient organisms are trees, including a 3,600-year-old cypress in Chile and a sacred fig in Sri Lanka that was planted in the third century B.C. One bristlecone pine known as Methuselah has been alive for nearly five millenniums, standing in a forest in what is now called California. But according to a paper published Monday in the journal Trends in Plant Science, time ravages us all in the end. The paper, “Long-Lived Trees Are Not Immortal,” argues that even the most venerable trees have physiological limits — though we, with our puny life spans, may never be able to tell. Sergi Munné-Bosch, a plant biologist at the University of Barcelona, wrote the article in response to a January study on ginkgo trees, which can live for over a thousand years. The studyfound that 600-year-old ginkgos are as reproductively and photosynthetically vigorous as their 20-year-old peers. Genetic analysis of the trees’ vascular cambium — a thin layer of cells that lies just underneath the bark, and creates new living tissue — showed “no evidence of senescence,” or cell death, the authors wrote. Dr. Munné-Bosch said he found the paper “very interesting,” but disagreed with how some readers of the study in popular media and beyond had interpreted it…

Wordsmith.org, July 27, 2020: A Word A Day

Where I live here in the Seattle area, fruit trees dot the whole neighborhood and they seem to take turns being in the spotlight. Last year it was the sweet juicy plums, so many that if you stood near a tree, opened your palm, and closed your eyes, the tree might put plums in your hand and whisper in your ear, “Please enjoy some plums and help lighten my load. There’s also a lone cherry tree and this year it was the cherry’s turn. So many! Birds swooped in. The way I see it, they have as much right to the fruit as we do. They eat, rejoice and make noise, and also leave pits around. The whole fruiting season doesn’t last very long, just a few weeks. The other day I went to the homeowners’ association office, and as it happened, someone else was also visiting the office. I caught the tail end of the conversation. They were talking about cutting down the cherry tree. “What?” I said. “It makes too much of a mess,” she said. I’d rather we not cut any trees, but if you really are itching to kill a tree, maybe chop down that hemlock tree on the other side. But no! It’s the cherry tree that’s making the mess…

Bangor, Maine, Daily News, July 27, 2020: Why you should plant a tree

One of the most soothing past times is observing the natural world in our immediate surroundings: birds perching on telephone wires, butterflies fluttering over bushes and bees buzzing around flowers. If you want to help support your local natural ecosystem, experts say that one of the best, easiest and most cost effective ways to do so is by planting a tree. “Trees serve so many purposes,” said Jennifer Cummings, owner of Full Circle Landscaping in Yarmouth. “They’re one of the earliest flowering things in the spring, so pollinators get to use those first. They shade our houses, so it makes them need less air conditioning. If they’re deciduous trees, they lose their leaves in the winter so the sun can warm your house.” Trees also create habitat for wildlife and beneficial pollinators that often go ignored in efforts to make a more environmentally friendly landscape — namely, birds. “We [most often] think about insects, but birds are also really important in that category,” said Kristen Brown, crew supervisor at Full Circle Landscaping. “You are creating habitats for them with trees, also shrubs.” Brown also said that trees are one of the “best investments you can make” when it comes to increasing the value of your property over time. Plus, it is an investment for the ecosystem around your property. “[Trees] aren’t just our human families, but think about all the other families within nature that are going to benefit in the long term,” Brown said…

Boston, Massachusetts, The Christian Science Monitor, July 27, 2020: A protest against one racial inequity – tree deserts

In a few U.S. cities, street protests against racial inequities have escalated in the two months since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In that city, however, people are trying something else. From pastors to politicians, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, they are “working to quell community tensions and exploring new strategies to combat racial injustice.” One particular effort focuses on bringing people together to reshape the urban landscape – literally. In the city’s racially diverse northern neighborhoods, for example, volunteers and local residents have been working the land since June – planting trees, creating gardens – as an act of social healing. This urban regreening “is about putting Black, brown, Indigenous, white hands in the soil together,” Jordan Weber, artist-in-residence at the Walker Art Center, told Minnesota Public Radio. According to various studies, people who live in communities with trees and gardens tend to be closer to one another. A canopy of trees in summer can prevent “heat islands” that drive people off the streets. With more trees, people tend to be outside more where they can meet neighbors. Shared gardens not only root useful plants but also a community. With more natural greenery around them, neighbors have a stake in protecting their environment. Places without such leafy cohesion have “tree inequity,” according to American Forests, the nation’s oldest conservation organization dedicated to protecting and restoring U.S. forests. Since 2018, the group has launched a campaign to plant trees in marginalized communities…

Nashville, Tennessee, WKRN-TV, July 26, 2020: 2 more Middle Tennessee counties quarantined for destructive beetle

Two more Tennessee counties have been placed in quarantine after a beetle that kills emerald ash trees was found there earlier this month. Tennessee agriculture officials say Hickman and Dickson counties have joined 63 other counties under state and federal quarantine for the emerald ash borer. The quarantine bars the movement outside the county of firewood, ash nursery stock, ash timber, and other material that can spread the beetle. Signs of the beetle include a thin canopy or yellow foliage on the tree, small holes through the bark of the tree, or shoots growing from roots or a tree trunk, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture said in a news release Friday. The state Division of Forestry estimates that there are 5 million ash trees on urban land and another 261 million ash trees on Tennessee timberland, with a combined value of about $11 billion…

Omaha, Nebraska, World-Herald, July 25, 2020: Nebraska Supreme Court weighs in on ‘chainsaw massacre’ of dozens of trees

You could call it the “Franklin County chainsaw massacre,” a dispute over the wrongful felling of dozens of trees that was resolved Friday by the Nebraska Supreme Court. Officials in Franklin County, in rural south-central Nebraska, had sought and received permission in December 2015 to clear several trees on the property of Thomas and Pamela Russell. The goal: to improve visibility on an adjacent county road. But county workers, in cutting down and uprooting trees, strayed from the area that was designated for clearing. Before they could be stopped, 67 additional trees had been cut down or uprooted. While the county and the Russells agreed that trees were wrongly removed, a lawsuit ensued over the monetary damages due to the Russells. Franklin County argued in court that the landowners were only due damages equal to the diminished value of the property, which they estimated at $200. But the Russells, who said they used the property for hunting, recreation and bird-watching, argued that damages should equal the cost of restoring the property to its prior condition. Using experts, including an arborist, they estimated the damages at $150,716…

Tallahassee, Florida, Democrat, July 27, 2020: Greening Our Community: A pandemic of sorts devastates a Florida native tree

A trend I have noticed over my career — I am retired now — is unintended consequences causing problems. Avenues for unintended consequences include bringing stowaways when we transport things long distances or deciding that this pretty plant will look nice in my yard. This is how we got a lot of invasive exotic plants and animals in our area that have caused a lot of problems to both our economies and our environment. Besides invasive exotic plants and animals, we also get diseases that come from “someplace else.” Our current COVID-19 pandemic is a good example of one that is affecting us right now. Today I would like to bring your attention to a problem caused by both an exotic insect and the fungus it carries. In this case, the story starts with two trees common to the Southeast that are being affected by a recent introduction of both the beetle and the fungus. They are the red bay and the sassafras. The red bay, it is believed, will be eradicated from the Southeast. The sassafras also will be affected by the disease, but to a lesser extent. Many people have heard of sassafras as settlers often used this aromatic tree to make tea brewed from the bark of its roots. The bark, twigs and leaves of sassafras are also important foods for wildlife…

Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sun, July 26, 2020: Controlling invasive Siberian elm trees

Q: What’s the best way to kill elm seedlings?
A: I’m glad you’re asking this question when these weedy, invasive trees are small and relatively easy to control (emphasis on the “relatively”). We all know how precious shade is in New Mexico, and we love our trees for providing it, but weedy trees like tree of heaven, salt cedar, and the Siberian elm are real problems across the state. Several traits make Siberian elms (Ulmus pumila) one of the most despicable invasive tree species around. For one, they produce a ton of seeds each spring that fly around, sprout up everywhere, and unless you get them that first season, are very hard to pull. If they just germinated this year, they’re probably still small enough to pull by hand. Pull ‘em when you see ‘em. You’ll be sorry if you don’t. Siberian elms also outcompete other, more desirable species, uproot walls around yards, don’t age well (branch breakage is common), and exacerbate allergies too. Albuquerque’s pollen ordinance bans these pests from being sold or planted within city limits. And did I mention the crazy amount of seeds they produce? In April, the seeds go whirling up and down my street in the wind, making cute pitter-patter sounds that make me shudder. Talk about nightmare on elm street…

Lake Louise, Alberta, CBC, July 23, 2020: Lake Louise ski resort loses appeal of $2M fine for cutting endangered trees

An Alberta judge has upheld a $2.1-million fine against a world-renowned ski resort for cutting down endangered trees nearly seven years ago. Lake Louise Ski Resort pleaded guilty in 2017 to taking down a stand of trees, including 38 endangered whitebark pine, along a ski run in 2013. The fine, which was imposed a year later for charges under the Species at Risk Act and the Canada National Parks Act, amounted to roughly $55,000 a tree. Lake Louise’s lawyer argued the fine was ‘grossly disproportional and demonstrably unfit’ as a result of remediation efforts the resort took after the trees were cut down. He asked for the court to either stay the charges or reduce the penalty to $200,000. The resort has taken steps to ensure no other whitebark pine are cut down. Staff are better educated and the 7,000 whitebark pine within the resort area are now marked. But the Appeal judge rejected the request and said the trial judge did not make an error handing out the fine. “The penalties imposed by the sentencing judge for these offences were certainly more than a slap on the wrist,” wrote Justice Barbara Romaine in a decision released Wednesday. “An observer, uninformed of the circumstances of the case, may consider the penalties to be excessively high given that the offence involved flora and not animals,” she said. But, Romaine said, this was not a case of an “otherwise good environmental citizen making an isolated mistake…”

Roanoke, Virginia, WSLS-TV, July 23, 2020: Hot, dry weather could have big impact on local Christmas tree industry

Christmas is still more than five months away but the recent hot and dry weather could be having an impact on one of the holiday’s most popular symbols. Local Christmas tree growers may have to start watering their trees if we get another long stretch of hot dry weather. That could have a big impact on growers. The owner of Sweet Providence Farm in Floyd County, John Houston, said Thursday that most local growers don’t normally have to irrigate their trees. “I was starting to keep track of how long it has been and looking at our rainfall from the previous month,” Houston said. “We grow specifically Fraser furs. That’s what everybody seems to like. They’re a little bit temperamental.” He said his trees were doing well as of Thursday and expected to have a good crop for the holiday season…

Popular Science, July 23, 2020: Pole saws to keep trees healthy

If you want to keep your trees healthy and looking their best, it’s important to occasionally prune older or damaged branches. A great tool for this is a pole saw. Essentially, pole saws are chainsaws attached extendable rods and designed to cut thicker branches. Pole saws can be powered by gas, an electrical outlet, or rechargeable batteries. Gas-powered tools are best for larger jobs, with longer run-times and more power for branches up to 12 inches thick. However, they’re often heavier and more expensive than their electric cousins. For smaller branches or fewer trees, consider a plug-in or battery-powered option—they’ll also save you money. When looking at pole saws, you want to pay attention to their working height, the cutting bar length (which determines the maximum diameter of the branches you can cut), the weight, and whether or not the saw is removable. That last feature makes it easier when you want to cut up the branches you fell. Pole saws aren’t necessary if you’re just cutting off twigs, and they’ll come up short for branches with more than a 12-inch diameter—for that you’ll need a heavy-duty chainsaw. But for basic general property maintenance, they’re handy tools that cut through the mess…

University of California, The Stanislaus Report, July 23, 2020: Protect Trees from Sunburn

Did you know that plants can suffer sunburn injury just like people? Sunburning of plants is actually a common and serious problem in the San Joaquin Valley, especially after a few days with temperatures over 100° F. Sunburn is damage to leaves and other plant parts caused by a combination of too much light and heat and insufficient moisture. The first symptom of this problem may be leaves that appear dull or wilted. A yellow or brown “burned” area develops on the leaves, which then dies beginning in areas between the veins. The best way to avoid sunburn is to choose plants that are adapted to the planting site. Trying to grow shade-loving plants in full sun is asking for sunburn problems. But even sun-loving plants will suffer sunburning of leaves if the plants are growing in dry soil. You need to provide your plants adequate irrigation water to prevent most sunburning problems. If you notice the symptoms early enough, you may be able to restore the color to sunburned leaves before they killed…

Phoenix, Arizona, KTVK-TV, July 22, 2020: Tree trimmers, roofers warn homeowners to take precautions before monsoon arrives

This is the time of year when the monsoon starts to do its thing, wreaking havoc across the Valley. Tree experts say that if Valley homeowners would simply cut back the big trees around their house, before the storms hit, it would greatly reduce the destruction we see every summer. Bill Weatherill, with TreeTime Design, said the more branches and leaves left on a tree, the easier it is to blow over. “The problem is that two things happen, “said Weatherill. “The limbs will break off from too much weight of the tree, or it will fall over if the ground is wet enough and you haven’t trimmed it and its too dense for air to travel through the tree and it becomes a giant sail.” Roof damage is also an issue during the monsoon. Every year, countless roofs cave in from all the heavy rain. Jeff Knudson, with Roofstar Arizona Inc., said that most roofs collapse because of a small, underlying problem, that could have been fixed long before the storms rolls in…

Idaho Falls, Idaho, Post-Register, July 22, 2020: Remembrances of a tree explosion

Here I go again. Hope you’re not bored with my ramblings. I occasionally refer to things that I have seen or observed that have stood out for me. I was reading the article entitled, “Livestock loss to lightning” by Heather Smith Thomas in the July 5 issue of Farm and Ranch. Her description was of particular interest and, although, from within a different context, caused me to reflect on an experience some 25 years ago while traveling down the eastern side of Nevada. I like the geography of that region with its expansive pattern of long, narrow ranges and valleys. Typical of the Great Basin (“land of interior drainage”), it is wonderfully remote. I had tucked myself in for a long winter’s nap (remember that quaint Christmas tale of long ago?), when out of the lawn there rose such a crash, like a shotgun blast, I tucked myself in for the next one. Luckily, it hadn’t had my name on it. I lay there anticipating the atmospheric fireworks. Nothing. Silence. The storm had expended its energy with one stroke. In the morning, I walked down a narrow gravel path and saw one of the native trees that closely resembled a tamarisk about 100 feet from my tent. It was shattered from top to bottom as if hit by the hammer of Thor. Wood all over the place. Upon closer examination, there was no apparent burn mark on any of it…

Yahoo News, July 22, 2020: ‘Disgraceful’ vandals damage 1000-year-old tree in Sherwood Forest

The world-famous 1,000-year-old Major Oak tree in Sherwood Forest has fallen victim to vandalism. Someone has caused a large three-foot chunk of bark to fall off the iconic tree, where the legendary outlaw Robin Hood is fabled to have met his “merry men”. The RSPB, which runs part of the Sherwood Forest Nature Reserve, said that fibreglass protection on the iconic tree has also been damaged. It is thought the damage was caused by someone climbing on the tree – despite access to it being prohibited for more than 40 years. An estimated 350,000 tourists visit Sherwood Forest each year to see the oak tree. Completely hollow inside, it has a hole in the trunk which visitors used to climb inside. However, the practice was stopped and the area around the tree’s roots fenced in the 1970s as conservationists recognised the damage this was causing to the ancient tree. The forest is also a National Nature Reserve and has some of the highest natural protections in Europe. Gemma Howarth, the RSPB’s site manager, said it was “heartbreaking” to find the damage while she was doing a regular check of the site during lockdown…

Magnolia, Arkansas, The Magnolia Reporter, July 23, 2020: The takeaway: Don’t plant big trees between curbs and sidewalks

Trees planted along urban streets in cities and towns throughout Arkansas have seen better days. Over the last several years, arborists have noted an increase in the decline, mortality, and removal of urban street trees, which add beauty, shade and other benefits to areas otherwise dominated by vehicle traffic and asphalt. Colin Massey, agricultural agent for the Washington County Cooperative Extension Service office, said urban tree decline can occur with many species. “Here in northwest Arkansas, this has been most visible on red maple,” Massey said. Red maple (Acer rubrum) is widely planted due to its popularity as a street and landscape tree, he said. It was listed as the 2003 Tree of the Year by the Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA). Red maples offer a fast growth rate but often exhibit shallow root systems and thin bark that is susceptible to sun injury, also known as sunscald. Red maple cultivars such as “Red Sunset” and “October Glory” can provide striking color to the fall landscape, maturing on average to a height of 45 feet, with a canopy spread of 35 feet…

New York City, Staten Island Advance, July 21, 2020: Already backlogged Trees & Sidewalks program loses millions in budget cuts; long

delays for repairs

Staten Islanders and residents across the city have been frustrated with the city Parks Department’s Trees and Sidewalks program that has been backlogged for years. The Parks Department is responsible for pruning city trees, as well as inspecting tree-related issues, like tree roots that have cracked and raised a sidewalk square, for example. Homeowners have said inspections and repairs are near impossible to get, and when an inspection finally does happen, they don’t agree with the results or they’re put on a waiting list that has been known to take years for service. The Advance has reported issues several homeowners have had with the city Parks Department’s Trees and Sidewalks Program — including a homeowner who waited 11 years for a repair. Major budget cuts to the Trees and Sidewalks program could exacerbate the wait times homeowners face…

Denver, Colorado, KDVR-TV, July 21, 2020: Large tree crashes through roof of Denver condo complex; residents say they had complained to HOA

A large tree crashed into a condo complex in Denver Tuesday afternoon and witnesses say it had nothing to do with the weather. Neighbors say that around 2 p.m., they heard a cracking sound and the building shaking at Cherry Creek Village Condominiums. The complex is near East Mississippi Avenue and Cherry Creek South Drive. “It felt like an earthquake,” Jahnice Johns told FOX31. Johns was inside her the condo with her mother when the tree fell… The large cottonwood tree came to a rest on their roof and tore through a portion of the ceiling. While the accident comes as a shock, residents of the complex say it is not a surprise. “This is something that I’ve been concerned about for many years because it’s been at a 45-degree angle and it was just a matter of time,” neighbor Augustus Johnston told FOX31 and Channel 2. Several owners tell the Problem Solvers they have expressed concern about the tree to their HOA on multiple occasions. “This tree started leaning in 2009 or 2010. We’ve been saying it, ‘You guys got to get that tree,’” Johns said. “It was an obvious hazard and they didn’t take care of it,” Johnston said…

Real Estate Management Institute News, July 21, 2020: Planting native trees cools communities over time

A new study has found that planting native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses can cool the summer daytime temperature of an area by more than 4 C in a decade. University of Waterloo researchers used a new thermal camera on the International Space Station (ISS) called ECOSTRESS to gather images that show temperature decreases over time when biodiverse, native species are restored to areas of Southern Ontario. “We found a decrease of 4.5 C in summer daytime temperatures over 12 years and we found that this change was dependent on biodiversity,” said Jonas Hamberg, PhD candidate at Waterloo’s School of Environment Resources and Sustainability and lead researcher on the study. Hamberg’s team is one of the first to work with the new ECOSTRESS technology which was attached to the ISS in 2019 via a SpaceX rocket and the Canadarm2 (the Canadian-made robotic arm). “I’m honoured to have had access to this new technology,” said Hamberg. “It opens up so many avenues for exploration – not just in my field, but for the whole scientific community…”

Center for International Forestry Research, July 22, 2020: Survey shows potential impact of palm trees in quantifying rainforest carbon

Palm trees are more than five times more numerous in such neotropical rainforests as the Amazon than in the large-scale rainforests of Africa and Asia, according to a new study. Led by researchers from Sweden’s Uppsala University (UU) and Brazil’s University of Campinas (Unicamp), the findings shed light on the unique characteristics and contribution of the trees to tropical forest ecosystems. They also demonstrate the importance of taking palm trees into account when estimating uptake and carbon sequestration in tropical forests and evaluating their resilience to climate change, the study states. “To get a better understanding of tropical forests and reduce uncertainty about carbon balance in these ecosystems during climate change, we summarized data to show how the number of palms vary around the world compared with other tree species,” said UU’s Bob Muscarella, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Genetics, Plant Ecology and Evolution…

St. Louis, Missouri, Post-Dispatch, July 20, 2020: Lightning hit a prized Missouri Botanical Garden tree. And a small rod saved it

During a storm last week, lightning likely hit one of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s most prized trees, a white basswood. “The lighting strike sounded like a bomb went off across the street,” said Gwen Merz, who lives a block away from the garden and posted a video of the hit on social media, where it was widely shared. “It shook the windows and the entire house — it was an insane experience.” But when garden employees inspected the tree the next day, they couldn’t find any sign of the strike. The tree’s saving grace: a metal rod at the tree’s peak, attached to a copper wire running down the trunk and then to a bigger rod underground. Lightning hits the garden once or twice a year. To protect some of its 3,500 trees from damage, the nonprofit has outfitted nearly 100 of its most valuable and vulnerable with a tree lightning protection system. If a tree is hit, it can prove fatal — sap will boil along the path of the strike, generating steam and causing tree cells to explode. “Lightning can completely shatter a tree,” said MOBOT Horticulture Supervisor Ben Chu, who inspected the trees for damage the day after the thunderstorm. “I’ve seen the bark blown right off the trunk…”

Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram, July 20, 2020: This $2 billion highway expansion prompts concerns about noise, tree removal in Arlington

When Shelley Ames and her family of five moved into the Willow Bend subdivision in Arlington last year, she was attracted to the shady front yards and friendly neighbors. She had not heard of the Southeast Connector, a $2 billion project the Texas Department of Transportation says will transform a 16-mile stretch of highway along Interstate 20, East Loop 820 and U.S. 287. Ames’ home is right behind an I-20 access road, separated by a backyard fence and a tree-filled ditch. TxDOT plans to expand the access road from one to two lanes without building a noise barrier wall, which Ames and her neighbors fear will lead to increased traffic and the inescapable sound of cars whizzing by. “Had we known that something like that was in the works, I don’t know if I would have chosen to live right here,” Ames said. “I don’t want them to take down our tall trees right behind our fence that help with the sound and certainly help with the view.” The Southeast Connector, which has been moving steadily forward since 2017, will affect parts of Fort Worth and Arlington when construction begins in late 2021 and continues through 2026, according to TxDOT plans. About 24 businesses and residential buildings are slated to be destroyed in east Fort Worth, with owners receiving compensation for their properties, said Rep. Nicole Collier, who represents the area in the state legislature. “It’s bound to happen with most projects: businesses are going to be displaced and homes are going to be displaced, but the state is going to have to offer compensation for that,” Collier said. “The only thing you can ask for is cooperation, and that is what TxDOT has been providing in terms of my district…”

Lexington, Kentucky, Herald-Leader, July 20, 2020: ‘Not all these trees pose a threat’ Lexington mayor, city question KU removing trees

Lexington city officials and tree professionals are questioning a recent push by Kentucky Utilities to cut down trees under power lines. Trees that were once in the median under a transmission line on Southpoint Drive in the Southpoint neighborhood off of Nicholasville Road were recently cut down. A line of stumps is all that remains. Earlier this spring, the power company axed and trimmed trees in Pinnacle, Waterford and Belleau Woods neighborhoods under a distribution line that leads to a substation on Wilson Downing Road. It is not known how many trees have been cut down in backyards and along streets. Mike Mills owns a home in Pinnacle. KU cut down two evergreen trees that were approximately 20 feet tall in his backyard. Mills and his neighbors, who also had trees cut, questioned why the power company was taking down trees when in prior years, those trees were trimmed. According to KU’s website, trees under distribution lines should be no taller than 15 feet. “They were about 15 or 20 feet from the bottom of the lowest line. From the highest line, it was probably 30 feet in difference,” said Mills. “Those trees had been there for 22 years. What has changed?” Mills said KU told him the maximum height requirement has always been in place — KU was now enforcing it. When trees were cut on Southpoint, a well-traveled road in south Lexington, people became aware of KU’s latest stance on tree heights under power lines. “My mother-in-law lives off of Southpoint Drive,” Mills said. “That drive now looks completely different. It’s terrible…”

VT Digger, July 20, 2020: New trees require extra care in drought

“How much should we be watering our trees?” That was the question from Bob Fireovid and Joan Falcao of Health Hero Farm, who received 115 trees from the Franklin County Conservation District this spring to plant a windbreak for their farmstead. Trees need consistent moisture to survive being transplanted, especially during a dry spring and summer like we’re having. The windbreak, along with about 7 acres of other tree plantings facilitated by the Conservation District and the 3500 trees sold through their spring tree sale, was planted in the first few days of May. While rain has brought relief a few times, mostly it was a dry spring; April through June in Franklin County fell short of our average rainfall by about 25%, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell. Fireovid and Falcao have been watering the trees whenever they can fit it into their busy schedule, and it makes a big difference. Out of the 29 white cedars planted only three have died so far, and all but one of the 14 white spruce are doing well. “Given how dry it’s been, that kind of survival rate is a real testament to Bob and Joan’s commitment to keeping these trees watered,” said Jeannie Bartlett, who has been providing technical guidance on the project through her role at the Conservation District. She advised the farmers to water their new trees so that the soil two- to eight inches down stays consistently moist. “Planting a tree or a live-stake is not just about the planting,” she continued. “Just like no one would plant seeds and expect them to grow without water, or without controlling weeds and pests – the same is often true with trees…”

Portland, Oregon, Press Herald, July 14, 2020: ‘Heritage trees’ could be protected in Portland historic districts

For years Ellen Murphy got used to seeing a swath of large linden trees across the street from her Park Street residence, but this spring the trees were taken down to make way for an expansion project on State Street. “Judging from the size of the stumps left behind — some of which are 2 feet in diameter — they had stood in that spot for decades. I’d say some of them were about 20 feet high or more,” Murphy said of the mature lindens that used to line a parking lot at Gray and Park streets. Their removal was part of an Avesta Housing project at 75 State St., an independent and assisted living facility. New rules under consideration by the City Council may help protect trees like those lindens. The Heritage Tree Ordinance, which the council will vote on Aug. 3, would “discourage the removal or extensive pruning of Heritage Trees located in historic districts of the City of Portland on public and private property and to replace the valuable ecological services such trees provide should they be removed.” The city estimates it would cost around $41,000 to implement the program because a part-time tree inspector would be needed, as well as a work vehicle, a computer, supplies and a phone. Heritage trees are defined as oaks, maples, pines or spruce that are at least 24 inches in diameter; ornamental trees of at least 12 inches in diameter; or any native tree on the endangered list. Property owners would be able to remove those trees if they are in poor health, dead, damaged or infected, but if a tree is removed for any other reason, a permit is needed…

Phys.org, July 20, 2020: Portable DNA device can detect tree pests in under two hours

Asian gypsy moths feed on a wide range of important plants and trees. White pine blister rust can kill young trees in only a couple of years. But it’s not always easy to detect the presence of these destructive species just by looking at spots and bumps on a tree, or on the exterior of a cargo ship. Now a new rapid DNA detection method developed at the University of British Columbia can identify these pests and pathogens in less than two hours, without using complicated processes or chemicals—a substantial time savings compared to the several days it currently takes to send samples to a lab for testing. “Sometimes, a spot is just a spot,” explains forestry professor Richard Hamelin, who designed the system with collaborators from UBC, Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. “Other times, it’s a deadly fungus or an exotic bug that has hitched a ride on a shipping container and has the potential to decimate local parks, forests and farms. So you want to know as soon as possible what you’re looking at, so that you can collect more samples to assess the extent of the invasion or begin to formulate a plan of action…”

Scientific American, August 1, 2020: How Oak Trees Evolved to Rule the Forests of the Northern Hemisphere

If you were dropped into virtually any region of North America 56 million years ago, you probably would not recognize where you had landed. Back then, at the dawn of the Eocene epoch, the earth was warmer and wetter than it is today. A sea had just closed up in the middle of the Great Plains, and the Rocky Mountains had not yet attained their full height. The continent’s plant and animal communities were dramatically different. In the Canadian High Arctic, which today harbors relatively few tundra plant species, year-round temperatures above freezing nurtured a rich and diverse flora; Ellesmere Island in far northern Canada, across from the northwestern coast of Greenland, was home to alligators and giant tortoises. What is now the southeastern U.S. was dominated by tropical rain forest, complete with primates. The northeastern U.S., for its part, ranged from broad-leaved (as opposed to needle-leaved) evergreen forest to deciduous forests of ginkgo, viburnum, birch and elm, among other species. The deciduous broad-leaved forests that now cover 11 percent of North America north of Mexico were in their infancy. But that was about to change, with the spread and extraordinary diversification of what would eventually become some of the most ecologically and economically significant woody plants in the world: the acorn-bearing, wind-pollinated trees we call oaks. Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated population into the roughly 435 species found today on five continents, ranging from Canada to Colombia and from Norway to Borneo. Oaks are keystone species, foundational to the functioning of the forests they form across the Northern Hemisphere. They foster diversity of organisms across the tree of life, from fungi to wasps, birds and mammals. They help clean the air, sequestering carbon dioxide and absorbing atmospheric pollutants…

Associated Press, July 18, 2020: Study: Charlotte losing tree canopy in part to development

The tree canopy that shades much of Charlotte is in decline, according to a study which said the current coverage is threatened. A study by the University of Vermont says Charlotte lost 8% of its tree canopy between 2012 and 2018, The Charlotte Observer reported Friday. The study was done in collaboration with the nonprofit group TreesCharlotte. According to the study, North Carolina’s largest city still had 45% of tree canopy in 2018, but it is threatened. The city gained about 2,200 acres of canopy through replantings, but the study also found Charlotte lost nearly 10,000 acres, much of it in large tracts of forest cleared for development. A study by the school commissioned by the city in 2014 characterized Charlotte’s tree canopy at 47% and holding steady despite surging development…

Israel21c, July 8, 2020: Scientists discover trees have a mutual aid network underground

Israeli scientists have recently discovered that trees of different species utilize underground fungal networks to transfer carbon among them. Tamir Klein, principal investigator at the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Tree Lab, and PhD candidate Ido Rog, installed underground devices and employed sequencing techniques to analyze 1,000 root tips from 12 trees of four different species. They unearthed intricate fungi networks that connected the trees’ roots to one another and proved that they serve as a conduit for carbon sharing. While tree kinship would suggest that carbon sharing would only occur between trees of the same species in order to give them an evolutionary edge over others, carbon was found to be transferred among four species — spruce, pine, larch and beech — indicating that a different actor might be responsible for this resource management. “The fact that trees are ‘sharing their wealth’ across species suggests that there is some sort of ‘hidden’ management occurring. We think the management is dominated by the fungi,” says Klein. “Fungi need to secure their own carbon sources; it is in their best interest to ensure that all the trees within the network are healthy and strong…”

Charleston, South Carolina, WCSC-TV, July 9, 2020: Construction and tree preservation to begin on scenic Hwy. 61

The South Carolina Department of Transportation announced Thursday it will begin construction on 14.75 miles of Highway 61 in Dorchester County to improve the road’s safety and quality. Construction will begin first on the scenic 6.5-mile portion of Highway 61 from the intersection of Highway 165 to the Charleston County line. Improvements will include a new roadbed and pavement, two 11-foot wide lanes with three-foot paved shoulders, safety rumble strips on the centerline and edge lines, higher-visibility paint and reflectors and warning signs at curves. “Our refined design for Highway 61′s improvements preserves the corridor’s live oak trees that are hundreds of years old and improves citizens’ safety as they drive along the scenic route,” Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said. “Based on a detailed analysis of seven years of crash data and significant input from the community, we were able to work with Gov. Henry McMaster and other stakeholders to alter our plans to maintain the area’s historic beauty while fulfilling our commitment to make our roads safer…”

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, OnMilwaukee.com, July 9, 2020: Why were the Mount Mary University pine trees cut down?

If, like me, you’re one of the folks that is blessed enough to be able to enjoy the lovely grounds of Mount Mary University along the Menomonee River Parkway on Milwaukee’s far west side, you may have been surprised to see portion of it undergoing drastic change this week. A wooded site at the north end of the campus, along Burleigh Street, is being cleared to make way for a new $45 million housing development – by Mount Mary, the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province and Milwaukee Catholic Home – that will offer intergenerational living for sisters and seniors, as well as supportive housing and education for students at the university who are single mothers. Thus, the site is no longer wooded. Radio personality Gino Salomone noticed and posted about it on social media. “Almost every day, I would walk through the quiet and beauty of a pine forest at Mt. Mary College,” he wrote. “The majestic trees that were around for who knows how many years are gone.” According to a fact sheet provided by Mount Mary spokeswoman Kathleen Van Zeeland, about 300 trees are being cut down to make way for the building, and 225 of them were non-native Scotch pine trees that were found to be diseased and “reaching the end of their life…

Auburn, New York, Citizen, July 9, 2020: Eco Talk: How to spot the tree-eating gypsy moth

Gypsy moths have been making the news recently, as their population in some regions of the state is causing a lot of defoliation. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website, they are causing noticeable defoliation in both central and western New York. Gypsy moth populations can remain at almost undetectable numbers for a number of years, and then for some unknown or unexplainable reason the population skyrockets. When populations are high, there are an estimated one million caterpillars per acre in some forests. While a single year of defoliation will not kill hardwood trees, there is decreased fall foliage. As you may already suspect, the gypsy moth is not native to the United States. They were brought here from France in the late 1860s with the intent of developing a silk industry in the United States. The experiment was not successful and some of course escaped, becoming established in Medford, Massachusetts, and since spreading. By 1981, the gypsy moth was found throughout New York state, and they are now considered to be naturalized in New York’s forests. It is not the adult moth that causes the problem. It is the larvae (caterpillars) that hatch from overwintering egg cases in April and May that start eating the emerging young leaves of many tree species. The early damage from the tiny caterpillars often goes unnoticed. Once the caterpillars are close to an inch in length, their huge appetites kick in and become visible with thinning tree canopies. The caterpillars will grow to just over 2 inches…

Washington, D.C., Post, July 8, 2020: D.C. has become a leader in a movement to plant more diverse city trees

If you are looking for rays of hope in dark times, consider this: The urban forest in Washington is lush and vital. It is one part of our (green) infrastructure that is being maintained proactively and, from a plant lover’s perspective, has never looked more interesting or been more inspiring. Those of us who have lived in this town for a long time remember when that wasn’t the case, with an alarming decline in the canopy of the urban forest due to neglect and development, a situation that led to the creation of the nonprofit Casey Trees. The condition of the urban forest goes beyond pure aesthetics. A leafy city is a cooler, cleaner city; it’s simply a nicer place to live, and it makes us healthier in mind and body. The tree, it turns out, is the one hugging us. Today, the city government has an active program of replacing dead trees and uses interactive maps to encourage residents to get involved in the care of newly planted trees. Moreover, there is a collective sense that in an age of climate change and more extreme weather, the need for a healthy urban forest has never been greater…

Ramona, California, Sentinel, July 8, 2020: Preservationists grieve the loss of an historic Colonnade tree

A fragment of history has been ripped out of Ramona with the recent removal of a eucalyptus tree in the Ramona Main Street Colonnade. Many of the Colonnade trees were planted in 1909 to be grown and harvested for railroad ties until it was discovered the wood often splintered and cracked. Nonetheless, the trees provided welcome shade to locals traveling by horse and buggy and later offered a scenic corridor for drivers of all sorts of vehicles. The value of having a majestic gateway to Ramona that reflects the town’s rural character was recognized by the State Historical Resources Commission on Aug. 3, 2018. By unanimous approval, the commission placed the Colonnade on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic tree that was reported to have been felled June 15 was located between O’Reilly Auto Parts store at 1935 Main St. and Tanguay’s Ramona Truck & Auto repair shop at 1939 Main St. Chris Anderson, secretary of the Ramona Tree Trust which works to preserve and protect the Colonnade, said this particular tree was a replacement tree planted in 1993. Anderson said replacement trees were needed back then when the road was widened in the late 1980s and again in the early 1990s. Area landowners along with Kmart operators worked out a deal to replace the trees with Caltrans, which has jurisdiction over their right of way. Ordinarily, Anderson said a permit is needed from Caltrans to plant or remove a tree…

Durham, North Carolina, WTVD-TV, July 8, 2020: ‘I have had enough loss:’ Raleigh woman upset after she says fruit tree was trimmed without warning

“Everything you see here, my momma planted it,” Jinnean Evans told ABC11. “And my momma is gone now. My sister is gone. I have had enough loss.” She’s upset because she awoke on Tuesday morning to discover that City of Raleigh workers were cutting her beloved fruit trees. “I come down and all I could see were these four guys and they were having at it,” she said. Evans said the men told her there was a complaint that people couldn’t see when going around the curve near her Farmington neighborhood home. “All they had to do was call me and say, ‘Ms. Evans, we had a complaint,'” she said, “and I would have told them I already made arrangements to have those trees trimmed back when the fruit is gone.” The City of Raleigh said a “visual obstruction” complaint was made in 2019. According to a statement from the city, “the limbs were encroaching into the street 2-3 feet making it a safety issue for drivers and pedestrians regarding visibility…”

Cleveland, Ohio, WKYC-TV, July 8, 2020: How to keep your trees healthy during the heat wave

Trees help to clean the air. They also help to provide shade this time of year. Of course, trees are also a great way to add a little beauty outside your home and keep things inside nice and cool. But with temperatures soaring into the 90s these last few days, keeping trees healthy can be a challenge. “Trees will show signs of drought stress when we haven’t had periods of rain,” explains Tedd Bartlett from Davey Tree. “You’re going to see some curling, some dropping, even some premature fall coloring.” Bartlett says while your outdoor plants require some water on a daily basis, your trees do require way more water. “The best thing you can do is regular watering. What you want to do is water your tree 3-5 times a week depending on the rainfall,” Bartlett says. He also recommends paying attention to what’s around the base of the tree and doing what he describes as “deep watering.” “Pull away some of the mulch from the base of the tree and create a well. When I say deep watering, it doesn’t mean digging out any soil away from the tree. It means applying enough water that filters into the root system deeper into the ground,” he explains. If you do notice that your tree has started to die, don’t worry. There is still time for it to recover if you catch it in time…

New Atlas, July 7, 2020: Beverly Hills to turn green with $2 billion tree-filled development

A sizable area of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, is set to turn green – literally – thanks to a new plant and tree-filled development designed by Foster + Partners. Assuming all goes to plan, the project will create two new residential towers and a hotel, and will feature sustainable design, including extensive greywater recycling to meet its considerable irrigation needs. The project, named One Beverly Hills, is being created in collaboration with Gensler, landscape architect Mark Rios, and developers Alagem Capital Group and Cain International. It will be located on a 17.5 acre (roughly 7 hectare) site currently home to the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and Beverly Hilton hotels. The existing hotels will be integrated into the new development, which will add an “ultra-luxury hotel,” two greenery-covered residential high-rise towers containing 303 residences in total, and a pavilion with retail and dining space. There will also be 4.5 acres (1.2 hectares) of publicly accessible botanical gardens and sculpture gardens, with pathways and extensive landscaping. In all, over 300 species of plants and trees will be planted…

Palm Springs, California, Desert Sun, July 7, 2020: UC Riverside scientists discover treatment for disease that threatens California citrus trees

UC Riverside today announced that its scientists have discovered a new treatment for a disease that has affected millions of acres of citrus crops worldwide and continues to threaten crops in California’s citrus hot spots including Riverside County. Fingertip-sized, moth-like flying insects spread citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing or HLB, which can destroy plants’ vascular systems and render fruits misshapen and unsellable, and typically kills infected trees within a few years. The new treatment is an antimicrobial peptide that kills the bacterium in affected crops. It’s a naturally occurring molecule found in wild citrus relatives, but it needs to be applied a few times each year to fend off new insects that can keep re-infecting crops as time goes on. There remains no one-time systemic cure for the disease, although researchers contend the new treatment can be sprayed on healthy crops periodically as a preventive measure…

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Post, July 7, 2020: Family that lost hundreds of trees to failed pipeline project settles with company, gets land back

A Northeastern Pennsylvania family who watched as work crews, accompanied by armed federal marshals, destroyed their budding maple tree farm to make way for the failed Constitution Pipeline has settled with the company Williams for an undisclosed amount. A federal court has also vacated the eminent domain taking of about five acres, reversing an order it made more than five years ago. “We’re really glad that it’s ended,” said Catherine Holleran, co-owner of the 23-acre property that has been in the family for 50 years. “We’ve gotten our land returned to us. That was our main objective right from the first.” The Constitution Pipeline project would have carried Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania to New York state. Though the project received federal approval and the necessary permits from Pennsylvania regulators, New York blocked the pipeline by not issuing permits. Williams dropped the project in February. The Holleran family of New Milford fought a lengthy battle to prevent the company from building the pipeline across their property. But in March 2016, the crews arrived at the 23-acre farm in rural Susquehanna County along with the federal marshalls, who wore bullet proof vests and carried semi-automatic weapons. The crew spent several days clearing about 558 trees, including some that were hundreds of years old…

National Science Foundation, July 7, 2020: Warming reduces trees’ ability to slow climate change

The world’s forests play an important role in mitigating climate change. Trees are carbon sinks — they absorb more carbon dioxide than they emit. But according to new National Science Foundation-funded research, the most prolific tree in North America, the Douglas fir, will absorb less atmospheric carbon dioxide in the future and therefore do less to slow climate change. “More warming for trees could mean more stress, more tree death and less capacity to slow global warming,” said University of Arizona dendrochronologist Margaret Evans. Dendrochronology is the scientific method of dating tree rings, which can provide data on climate and atmospheric conditions. “Until now, forests have stabilized the climate, but as they become more drought-stressed, they could become a destabilizing carbon source,” Evans said. Evans is senior author of a study published in Global Change Biology. To study the impact Douglas firs could have on future climate, researchers gathered a massive amount of data to understand the relationship between tree-ring width and climate. Tree rings are annual layers of growth made of carbon. When rings are thinner, that suggests the trees pulled less carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. “We chose to study Douglas firs because they have a huge environmental niche,” Evans said. “Douglas firs grow in the western half of North America, ranging from as far south as the mountains of southern Mexico, to the mountain peaks punctuating the Sonoran Desert, to the Pacific Northwest rainforests, to the frigid peaks of the Rocky Mountains…”

Lansing, Michigan, WSYM-TV, July 6, 2020: Homeowner tries to protect 100-year-old tree from sidewalk project

A Delhi Township woman is vowing to do whatever it takes to protect a more than 100-year-old tree on her property from a sidewalk construction project. The project is a part of the “Safe Routes 2 School” program. Holt Public Schools and Delhi Charter Township received a grant from the state to make safer routes for children walking to and from school. “I contacted the community development as soon as it started and I said, you know I have this big tree out front,” said homeowner Jessica Bouvier. “I really want to make sure you guys don’t cut into the roots, so is there any way that we can build above the tree so we don’t kill it.” Construction crews plan to work to remove earth and clear a path to level the ground in front of the tree for a sidewalk. Monday, Bouvier stood in front of the tree to prevent that from happening. She said the township previously told her the tree’s root system would be avoided. “It would cut into more roots and it would definitely kill this tree, for sure,” Bouvier said. “I had an arborist come out here he said if they cut into it, it’s going to die…”

Concord, New Hampshire, Monitor, July 6, 2020: If you want a tree that will last a century, what should you plant?

Everybody knew that COVID-19 would bring a lot of changes but I’m not sure many people anticipated society’s sudden love of bushy trees. “This is our busiest spring ever. We have never sold as many big trees as we have this year,” is how Rob Farquhar, garden center manager at Brochu Nursery in Concord, put it. What’s the COVID connection? Social distancing. “People say: How can I hide my neighbor? I’ve never been home this much!” Farquhar said. “They want big shade trees and evergreen screening.” Even without neighbors to hide from, I’ve spent a lot more time contemplating the trees on my property during these stay-at-home months and have become positively Lorax-like in my admiration. When you really look at trees you have to admit that they are weird, monstrous, incredibly cool things. But they also seem imperiled. I’ve lost track of how many of our tree species are being attacked by invasive insects, invasive plants, new diseases, the shifting climate or a combination of all four. Pine, oak, maple, hemlock; varieties of each seem like potential candidates to join elm and chestnut – and, soon, ash – on the list of tree species wiped out in North America. That leads to a question: What should I plant if I want the tree to last for a century or more and turn into a gorgeous giant like a century-old ash tree I’ve admired in a neighboring town?

Denver, Colorado, KCNC-TV, July 6, 2020: Forest Service Shuts Down Scenic Railroad’s Tree-Cutting Operation

An attempt by the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to remove trees considered to be a wildfire risk along a stretch of track was halted by a cease-and-desist order from the United States Forest Service. This after the Forest Service filed a $25 million lawsuit last year against the railroad for allegedly causing one of the largest wildfires in the state’s history. The federal government claims a cinder from one of the railroad’s coal-fired steam locomotives ignited the 416 Fire in June 2018. That blaze burned more than 54,000 acres. The railroad faces other lawsuits seeking liability for the fire, including one from the insurance company of a nearby ski resort that was forced to close during the fire. The railroad denies its locomotive caused the fire, but months later committed to converting at least one locomotive to diesel fuel from coal. By the time the Forest Service cease-and-desist order was issued in late May, eight miles of the tree-cutting project had already been completed. Now, however, tree-cutting is at a standstill as the historic locomotives run on a limited schedule and USFS personnel review what has been downed and cleared thus far. “One of the chief complaints we hear is about fire mitigation,” said John Harper, general manager of American Heritage Railways, which owns DSNGRR. “And now we’re actively mitigating and people are concerned and upset about it…”

Nature, Reply to “Height-related changes in forest composition explain increasing tree mortality with height during an extreme drought” (July 7, 2020)

Recently, we published a study1 tracking tree mortality through an extreme drought for ~1.8 million individual trees over 8 years, revealing a continuous upward trend in mortality risk with respect to tree height. In the accompanying paper, Stephenson and Das dispute our findings, highlighting two scenarios in which broad changes in forest composition control mortality trends. We re-analyze our full tree-level dataset2, controlling for forest type by testing for an increasing height-mortality trend in ten unique topographic positions and ten unique forest types (Fig. 1). In all topographic positions and all forest types covered in the original 40,000-ha study area, we still find a consistent upward trend in mortality rate with increasing tree height. We also find that plot-based sampling schemes may not confidently detect the full height-mortality trend due to undersampling of tall trees in forests. Our remote sensing-based approach helps solve this logistical challenge. With these lines of evidence, alongside our original findings1, we argue in favor of a broad height-mortality trend that is interactive and modulated by species-specific factors. Drought-induced tree mortality is controlled by a complex series of interacting stressors—not by a single binary factor…

Toronto, Ontario, Star, July 6, 2020: Toronto unleashes killer fungus in its last stand against an invasive insect wiping out our ash trees

The city is betting on an experimental program to control emerald ash borers before the destructive bugs kill off what’s left of our ash trees. Before the invasive species of Asian insect started making its way up the Highway 401 corridor from the U.S. about 10 years ago, Toronto was home to an estimated 860,000 ash trees. Since then, the emerald ash borer infestation has killed or resulted in the removal of all but about 10,000 ash trees in the city, with the rest likely headed for the same fate unless a solution is found. The answer — hopefully — is blowing in the wind and dangling from the high branches of ash trees in the Guild Park and Gardens, where the final battle is underway. My regular walking route includes the Guild Park, where signs were recently attached to ash trees asking people not to fool around with ropes that lead to two types of traps suspended far above the ground. Josh McMeekin, a forest health care inspector with urban forestry, said the Guild area is “a unique place, very ash dominant…”

Decatur, Illinois, Herald-Review, July 5, 2020: Code change would regulate what Decatur residents can grow on their property

City officials are seeking to regulate how residents can grow native prairie grasses on their properties, aiming to allow those plantings without bringing unwanted wildlife and other problems into neighborhoods. The Decatur City Council on Monday will consider amending city code to allow for native planting areas, with guidelines and some restrictions. In a memo to the city council, City Manager Scot Wrighton said the goal was to offer an ordinance that “adds value to the urban landscape while still controlling the undesirable elements of uncontrolled prairie grass pastures.” Wrighton said the proposed rules were developed after staff met with an advisory committee that included representatives from several organizations, including the Macon County Conservation District, Richland Community College, U of I Master Gardeners Club of Decatur, Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District, Sustain Our Natural Areas and the Decatur Audubon Society. The council has a history with the issue. Members agreed last year to consider amending city code to allow for native planting areas and approved a temporary moratorium on the enforcement of high-grass nuisance code violations for properties that claimed to have authentic native or prairie grass landscaping…

Los Angeles, California, Times, July 3, 2020: Worries mount in Yucca Valley that Joshua trees will be designated an endangered species

To hear local leaders tell it, the proposed listing of western Joshua trees as an endangered species would be an economic catastrophe for the high desert Town of Yucca Valley. It would place an onerous regulatory burden on property owners, they say, at a time when they are being pinched by declining revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a state mandate to install a $375-million sewer system on parcels where the trees grow, as some residents put it, “like weeds.” But state wildlife authorities have recommended that Joshua trees be considered for listing. The recommendation was based on a review of a petition submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity, which argues that the trees are facing the risk of extinction after years of development, drought and more frequent wildfires due to climate change. And therein lies the pickle for the town of 21,000 residents along California 62 about 25 miles north of Palm Springs. On Monday, Assemblyman Chad Mayes (I-Yucca Valley) added a new wrinkle to the controversy on behalf of his constituents: He introduced a hastily crafted emergency bill that would amend the California Endangered Species Act to make it easier to take a threatened or endangered species found to be causing significant economic hardship or impacting critical infrastructure such as a sewer system. Mayes is especially interested in changing regulations that grant temporary protection to Joshua trees or any other species in the process of being considered for listing. “If the tree is just a candidate for listing,” Mayes said in an interview, “it doesn’t seem fair to make our struggling desert communities pay a heavy price for the international problem of climate change…

Urbana, Illinois, University of Illinois Extension Service, July 5, 2020: Illinois’ big trees are on the map

From the depths of the Shawnee National Forest to backyards in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois’ biggest trees are branching out. For the first time, the state’s champion trees are now available as an interactive digital map. “For more than 58 years, the Illinois Big Tree Register has inspired generations of big tree hunters who relish the opportunity to find and nominate the next champion tree,” says Jay Hayek, a University of Illinois Extensionforestry specialist in the department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES). “The map is an exciting new way for us to continue to discover and recognize the value of our largest native tree species.” NRES graduate and forestry technician Julia Allison developed the map, available at go.illinois.edu/championtrees, to give big tree hunters access to detailed information about each of the 88 champion trees listed on the Illinois Big Tree Register. The map includes tree species details, GPS coordinates, measurements, and their resulting scores, as well as a list of the 10 largest trees on record to date. Big tree enthusiasts can use the map to track down Illinois’ top-ranked tree, a 122-foot tall Eastern Cottonwood in Ogle County, and the county with the most champion trees, Union County in Southern Illinois. The register began in 1962 as a citizen-science outreach project to recognize the Prairie State’s largest native trees, and anyone with a tape measure can nominate a tree…

Ellsworth, Maine, American, July 1, 2020: Hungry, itch-inducing caterpillars take toll on humans, trees

If there is one good thing to say about browntail caterpillar season, it’s that it is wrapping up. As far as enemies go, this foe is unassuming. But don’t be fooled by its small, fluffy appearance. The caterpillar’s hairs can cause a fierce itch when they land on skin. “It’s awful — the itch is worse than chicken pox,” says Valerie Folckemer, who encountered the insects at her house on Newbury Neck in Surry. The caterpillars are brown and can be identified by the two white stripes that run along their backs and by two distinctive orange dots. Their tiny hairs are barbed and toxic. “I am covered in a severe rash from this stupid caterpillar and have been for an entire week now; it just seems to be getting worse, not better,” said Jill Rothrock of Hancock. The itching started June 17 when she was running errands in Ellsworth. Her daughter spotted a caterpillar on her shirt. “I didn’t even look, I just screamed and tried to shake it off my shirt. My daughter screamed and ran away,” Rothrock recalled. A friend plucked the insect off her shirt with a paper towel. “Then the rash started getting worse. By the time I went to bed, I had what looked like hives on my chest, shoulder and neck.” The following Monday she went to the doctor, who prescribed a compound for the rash. It didn’t help much. “My doctor and his nurse said they are getting so many calls about this caterpillar and rashes that it is causing people,” she said. There is little good to say about browntail caterpillars, according to Tom Schmeelk, a forest entomologist with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry…

Rosenberg, Texas, Fort Bend Herald, July 1, 2020: Cost of free oak trees could cost city $344,000 in maintenance annually, report says

In February, Fort Bend County Road and Bridge granted the city of Rosenberg 280 free oak trees. But nothing is really free. At the most recent Rosenberg City Council workshop meeting, council members discussed the cost of landscape irrigation for the live oak trees donated by Fort Bend County. City staff revealed that irrigation and installation for the trees could cost anywhere between $240,000 and $344,000. This project would be scheduled in three phases to allow the county’s contractor time to prepare the trees. Council agreed in February that the trees would be planted at center medians along major thoroughfares along Bryan Road, Spacek Road and possibly Town Center Boulevard. City staff explained that while the trees would be free, the city would have to pay for irrigation and other upkeep. “When we first discussed this, I had a feeling this was going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,” council member Isaac Davila said. “We have more important things to spend money on. That’s a wish list. If we had a lot of extra money then maybe. But we don’t. I’m against it.” Mayor Bill Benton said nice towns have a lot of things like sidewalks and trees. “I think we are out of touch with our constituents, especially the poorer ones,” Davila responded…

Southern Living, July 1, 2020: The Manchineel Is a Scary Tropical Tree That Can Kill You

There’s a toxic coastal plant you need to know about, and it’s called the manchineel tree. You may have seen one during your travels—it’s often accompanied by cautionary signs and a bright red band painted around its trunk as a warning to all who pass by. While not all manchineel trees are so painted, they require a fervent advisory, because they are one of the most dangerous plant species around. The manchineel (aka Hippomane mancinella, aka the Tree of Death) is native to coastal areas in southern North America, such as South Florida, as well as the northern reaches of Central and South America and the Caribbean. The plant gets its name from the Spanish word manzanilla, which means “little apple.” It is so named because the fruit and foliage of the plant resemble those of apple trees. It’s also been called manzanilla de la muerte, or “little apple of death,” a foreboding moniker if ever we’ve heard one. As it happens, all of the fearsome names are warranted. The manchineel has bright green leaves and round, yellowish-green fruits, making it a rather ordinary looking tropical plant. Don’t let it fool you, though: Every part of the manchineel is poisonous. The fruit is toxic, and the sap from the leaves and stems is too. If touched, the irritants found in manchineel sap can produce inflammation and painful blisters on the skin. Passersby are warned not to stand underneath the tree when it’s raining, as dripping water can transfer toxins from the tree to anyone nearby. And finally, burning manchineel bark has been known to cause irritation, even blindness, due to airborne poison ash…

Arkansas City, Kansas, Cowley Courier Traveler, July 1, 2020: Tree removal digs up complaint

Some of the trees planted as part of a 2006 Summit Street beautification project are being cut down and removed in response to complaints from businesses. But removing the trees has also led to complaints from residents who like them. Public Services Supervisor Tony Tapia said several business owners in the 100 block of South Summit Street want the trees removed because they hide their signs and make their location less visible. “Like TCK investments,” he said. “They’ve got a new sign and they want the tree removed.” Tapia said that Riggs Tax Service has also complained about his sign being blocked and was also concerned about the tree on the north side of his building. He said the tree was breaking up the sidewalk and filling his bottom stairwell with leaves. “So the only thing I can do is take them out,” Tapia said. In some areas, the trees are causing a lot of damage, Tapia said. Sidewalks in front of Starlyn Venus Insurance at Summit Street and Chestnut Avenue are being badly damaged by tree roots. Another problem area is near the Council on Aging building in the 300 block of South Summit Street. He said Bob Niles complained that the roots were popping up the tile work in the doorway, so that tree was also removed. Tapia said the city is not planning to remove all of the trees, just the ones causing problems and receiving complaints. The only other tree slated for removal at this time is in front of The Grinder Man restaurant…

Miami, Florida, Miami Today, July 1, 2020: Million Trees plans pruned

Million Trees Miami, an initiative funded by Miami-Dade County, has set its sights on establishing a 30% tree canopy in the county through tree giveaways, plantings, grants and special programs directed at shading bus stops and playgrounds. In 2016, the Miami-Dade County Urban Tree Canopy Assessment placed the county’s coverage at 19.9%. However, Gabriela Lopez, community image director for Neat Streets Miami, which oversees Million Trees, said up to 30% of this canopy may have been lost over the past four years due to storms such as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Dorian. The organization’s original goal, she said, was to plant one million trees in Miami Dade; roughly the number needed to reach the 30% canopy based on 2016 estimates. Now, the goal is to plant as many trees as possible while the county works to update the assessment via satellite imaging and reassess, a project that Ms. Lopez said should be completed by next spring. This percentage, she continued, “is the national standard for a healthy urban environment.” In addition to providing aesthetic benefits, Ms. Lopez said studies have shown that trees provide economic perks. In fact, well-placed trees can raise property values, increase the time and money pedestrians spend at shopping centers, and help residents and businesses save up to 56% on annual air-conditioning costs, according to the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service…

Southern Living, June 30, 2020: Chaste Tree Produces Pretty Lilac Blooms in Summer

The shrubs are blooming and the trees are bursting—you know what time it is. Summertime brings gorgeous flowers, lush leaves, and bright colors in every corner of the garden. Seeing all the vibrant garden changes makes the summer heat almost bearable—almost. This season, a blooming tree with pretty lilac flower spikes has been catching our eyes, and we think it’s a gorgeous planting for Southern gardens. Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) is also known as Texas lilac tree, Vitex, chasteberry, and Monk’s pepper. It’s a great tree for small yards and compact spaces. The multi-trunked tree grows to heights of 10-15 feet tall and tends to spread. It produces small, spiked blue and lavender flowers in summer along with long, fragrant grey-green leaves. During the early hot days of the season, branched panicles emerge. Those are the colorful, easily recognized flower spikes that make chaste tree such a popular planting. Some selections produce pink and white flowers too. It’s a hardy planting that’s drought tolerant and can stand up to the hot Southern climates, but you’ll get the best bloom by providing full sun and regular water in well-drained soil. It’s even hardy enough to plant in coastal conditions. Chaste tree can also withstand garden pests and browsing deer. It does require regular pruning to keep the tree looking its best. After planting, it doesn’t take long for Southern gardeners to declare this tree their favorite summer bloomer in the garden…

Indianapolis, Indiana, WTHR-TV, June 30, 2020: Friends pushing to remove tree blocking stop sign after deadly crash

A group of students in Marion made their voices heard after losing a classmate. Katie Jo Maynus, 18, was a graduate of Oak Hill High School. She was killed in a crash after she went past a stop sign at the intersection of 4th Street and Butler and was hit by a semi. Her friends blame a tree that was blocking the stop sign.”It is dangerous because the trees you can barely see any cars when you cross by until you are right up on them,” said Emily Henry, one of Maynus’ friends. Some of the branches were cut back after the deadly accident and a “Stop Ahead” sign was put up. Even with those changes, the stop sign is still hard to see and Maynus’ friends, family and even one of her teachers want the tree to come down. “I’ve lost kids to drunk driving accidents and cancer and suicide and stupid accidents but this is the first one that is 100 percent preventable and I am not going to rest until it is taken care of,” said teacher Danielle Hewitt. “We do not want any other family to go through what we have gone through and are going through and will continue to go through for the rest of our lives,” said Maynus’ grandmother, Arvida Newcomer…

Port Huron, Michigan, Help trees regrow leaves if gypsy moths get to them (June 30, 2020)

First introduced in eastern New England more than 100 years ago, the gypsy moth was brought to the United States for use in silkmaking, said Scott Lint, Forest Resources Division forest health expert for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.But they escaped. Arriving in Michigan in the 80s, the species caused serious problems in the early 90s. While the insects have become somewhat naturalized over the years, there are occasionally outbreaks when certain conditions are suitable. These outbreaks usually collapse on their own, but there are two areas of the the state causing concern for the DNR this summer. “We suspect this population will also collapse, but the issue is from a nuisance standpoint for homeowners,” he said. “They have to tolerate thousands of caterpillars crawling on their house and stripping all the leaves off their trees…

Elgin, Illinois, Daily Herald, June 29, 2020: Elgin will hold off on removing 10 trees after residents’ complaints

The city of Elgin will not preemptively cut down 10 trees along Chicago Street after residents complained about such a plan. The 10 trees, including some large silver maples, are on the public parkway. They had been slated for removal because of “a high likelihood of considerable damage or death” — and therefore a risk to property and people — during the ongoing rebuilding of East Chicago Street, city spokeswoman Molly Gillespie said. The city sent a letter with an apology to residents last week and offered to plant “a larger-than-typical replacement tree,” Gillespie said. After negative feedback from some residents, the city opted instead to allow the homeowners who live across from the trees to decide whether to keep them or replace them before construction proceeds further, Gillespie said. “We will be doing as much as practical to not harm the trees that are requested to remain standing, but if during construction we encounter a tree and have concerns it is a threat to safety, we will take steps to remove it,” she said…

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, WBRZ-TV, June 29, 2020: Dead tree debate taking too long, could have saved homeowner money

A dead tree is a topic of debate between the city-parish and a property owner for more than two months. Kim Scarton’s records show that she called the city-parish’s 311 call center about a dead tree behind her fence line on June 26, 2019, and took down a work order. But it wasn’t until 2 On Your Side got involved did she receive an answer from the city-parish about who it thinks should take responsibility. “We requested removal, we got a work order number and they said they’d be in touch,” said Scarton. A couple of weeks went by. Scarton says her neighbor called the city-parish after a tree behind her house was damaged during Tropical Storm Barry. On July 15, 2019, she says a representative from the South Drainage Department came out to investigate and told her the trees were not on their properties, but in the city-parish servitude. On July 23, 2019, two city-parish arborists visited Scarton’s home. “We were told they’re on city property and they’ll be recommended for removal,” Scarton said. After following up a few times, Scarton said she didn’t hear anything. Then on August 24, 2019, a branch fell from the tree onto Scarton’s roof. Estimates to repair the damage exceed $3,500…

Normal, Illinois, Pantagraph, June 30, 2020: TRACKING TREES – Watch now: Normal completes inventory of 12,000 trees

Standing on the Ironwood Golf Course, Reid Gibson can identify a tree’s species, diameter and condition within a matter of minutes. Gibson, an arborist with Davey Resource Group, has entered thousands of trees in Normal into a program that will help the town fight off invasive insect species and keep track of its urban canopy. With a handheld computer attached to his tool belt, he is able to pinpoint the exact location of the tree into a geographic location system to create a database of the town of Normal’s trees. “In the future, we’ll use the tree inventory for years to come, so it’s a huge benefit for the town,” said Tyler Bain, Normal park maintenance supervisor. “We’re trying to put trees in the urban forest in the forefront because it’s not always there. “We’re trying to protect what we have and improve it for the future. Gibson completed a nearly two-month long inventory of 12,000 trees throughout Normal. He has surveyed roughly 250 trees per day, working 10 hour days Monday through Friday to prepare a database for Normal’s tree canopy…”

Grand Rapids, Michigan, WXMI-TV, June 29, 2020: 85-year-old says tree service took his money and ran

A tree service in Barry County recently featured by the FOX 17 Problem Solvers is accused of taking money and not doing the work. Now an 85-year-old veteran says he too is out hundreds of dollars. Russell Golden still works hard for his money and takes good care of it. “I can’t afford to lose money and other old people can’t either,” says Golden. In March, he noticed some of his oak trees beginning to rot, so he says he hired Darren Huffman of Darren’s Tree Service to do some trimming. Golden made a contract for the job that outlined its $900 cost. “I had him sign a contract, he was supposed to do it in a week. And he said he had to have half the money, so I wrote him out a check for $500. I never seen him since,” Golden explained. And Golden says the check did cash. FOX 17 has tried multiple times to get in touch with Darren, once again Monday night, we received his voicemail…

Atlanta, Georgia, Saporta Report, June 28, 2020: Citizens group proposes an alternative tree ordinance for Atlanta

Atlanta may get a new and improved tree ordinance after all. The Atlanta City Council held a Tree Ordinance Work Session on June 25 to discuss a proposed draft ordinance prepared by consultants and released March 20. But it was an alternative draft tree ordinance presented by a citizens group that stole the show. Chet Tisdale, a retired environmental attorney who serves on the City of Atlanta’s Tree Conservation Commission, helped convene 22 citizens – professional arborists, developers, an ecologist, attorneys, members of watershed protection organizations, members of tree protection groups among others – who worked the alternative draft tree ordinance. The citizens version addresses many of the criticisms the public had of the draft tree ordinance proposed by the consultants, with some people questioning whether it had more loopholes than the tree ordinance Atlanta has had in place for the past 20 years. Tisdale said the citizens alternative is still a work in progress, and he welcomed the public to propose ways to make it “a tree protection ordinance that the city of Atlanta deserves…”

London, UK, Daily Mail, June 29, 2020: Arborist cuts off his own leg while chopping down a tree in New South Wales

An arborist has accidentally amputated his leg while cutting down a tree in New South Wales. The 51-year-old man was working in Wilberforce, 61km northwest of Sydney, on Monday when a rope wrapped by his leg got caught in a nearby woodchipper. The machine pulled the rope taut, severing his leg beneath the knee. The force of the rope being yanked into the woodchipper sent the man’s detached leg ‘flying into the air’, the Careflight team told ABC News. The man suffered from significant blood loss due to the amputation and his colleagues provided first aid. ‘The moment the leg went flying through the air, the quick actions of others meant they were able to grab and preserve it,’ a CareFlight spokeswoman said. Careflight’s rapid response helicopter were called to the scene just before 11.30am. NSW Police officers who were first on scene had already tied a tourniquet around the man’s leg, significantly increasing his chances of survival after the incident…

New York City, Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2020: A Row Over Trees Could Spark the Next Israel-Lebanon War

At the heart of tensions that threaten to trigger a new war between Israel and Lebanon are lines of trees planted along their blurred border. The trees are growing next to Israel’s concrete border walls that tower over Lebanon. They won’t just make this place greener. The trees will eventually block Israeli spy cameras that peer across the line. That is something Israel won’t allow. Now the United Nations is trying to broker a deal to prevent this dispute from sparking another deadly conflict between the two sides. “The cutting of a branch here could trigger a war,” said Andrea Tenenti, spokesman for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, which has more than 10,000 peacekeepers spread out across the south of the country. The tensions center not just on the trees but also who is planting them. Green Without Borders is an environmental group aligned with Hezbollah, the Iran-backed military and political force designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization. It has run tree-planting projects with Hezbollah before and, with Lebanese military support and government backing, the group has also built a series of cinder block lookout towers that Israeli officials say are used by Hezbollah to plot attacks…

Kennebec, Maine, Journal, June 28, 2020: Knotty tree fungus strikes cherry, plum trees in Augusta

A nasty fungus has infected numerous cherry trees in the city, including 14 at a city park where officials plan to have them cut down and removed. The black knot fungus is slowly killing cherry trees at Monument Park, off Memorial Circle, clinging to the trees’ branches and leaving them barren and dying. Community Services Director Leif Dahlin said the city’s arborist, Rich Wurpel, has spent hundreds of hours over the past several years trying to battle back against the fungus, but it keeps coming back. This year, it has spread to the point trees will be cut down before they die on their own — an effort to prevent further spread of the fungus. “You can see where he’s clipped and clipped and clipped,” Dahlin said of Wurpel, noting he wipes his pruning clippers off between each cut to prevent spreading the fungus. “But this year it exploded and, tragically, those trees are done. They’re done. It’s time for them to go.” The fungus is also affecting cherry trees in Mill Park, Calumet Park and other places, which will also be cut down. Experts say the fungus can also harm plum trees. Dahlin briefed the Augusta City Council on the situation last week because people are sure to see trees being cut down at Monument Park, adjacent to Memorial Circle, according to City Manager William Bridgeo…